The recently discovered apelin/APJ system has emerged as a critical mediator of cardiovascular homeostasis and is associated with the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. A role for apelin/APJ in energy metabolism and gastrointestinal function has also recently emerged. We disclose the discovery and characterization of 4-oxo-6-((pyrimidin-2-ylthio)methyl)-4H-pyran-3-yl 4-nitrobenzoate (ML221), a potent APJ functional antagonist in cell-based assays that is >37-fold selective over the closely related angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor. ML221 was derived from an HTS of the ∼330,600 compound MLSMR collection. This antagonist showed no significant binding activity against 29 other GPCRs, except to the κ-opioid and benzodiazepinone receptors (<50/<70%I at 10 μM). The synthetic methodology, development of structure-activity relationship (SAR), and initial in vitro pharmacologic characterization are also presented.
GPCRs; HTS; APJ; Apelin; Cardiovascular disease; Antagonists; SAR
A high throughput screen of the NIH’s MLSMR collection of ~340,000 compounds was undertaken to identify compounds that inhibit Plasmodium falciparum glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (PfG6PD). PfG6PD is essential for proliferating and propagating P. falciparum and differs structurally and mechanistically from the human ortholog. The reaction catalyzed by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is the first, rate-limiting step in the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), a key metabolic pathway sustaining anabolic needs in reductive equivalents and synthetic materials in fastgrowing cells. In P. falciparum the bifunctional enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase-6- phosphogluconolactonase (PfGluPho) catalyzes the first two steps of the PPP. Because P. falciparum and infected host red blood cells rely on accelerated glucose flux, they depend on the G6PD activity of PfGluPho. The lead compound identified from this effort, (R,Z)-N-((1-ethylpyrrolidin-2-yl)methyl)-2- (2-fluorobenzylidene)-3-oxo-3,4-dihydro-2H-benzo[b][1,4]thiazine-6-carboxamide, 11, (ML276), is a submicromolar inhibitor of PfG6PD (IC50 = 889 nM). It is completely selective for the enzyme’s human isoform, displays micromolar potency (IC50 = 2.6 μM) against P. falciparum in culture, and has good drug-like properties, including high solubility and moderate microsomal stability. Studies testing the potential advantage of inhibiting PfG6PD in vivo are in progress.
6-phosphogluconolactonase; glucose-6-phosphate; glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; highthroughput screening; malaria; pentose phosphate pathway; Plasmodium; redox metabolism; benzothiazinone
Herein we present the outcome of a high throughput screening (HTS) campaign-based strategy for the rapid identification and optimization of selective and general chemotypes for both kappa (κ) opioid receptor (KOR) activation and inhibition. In this program, we have developed potent antagonists (IC50 < 120 nM) or agonists of high binding affinity (Ki < 3 nM). In contrast to many important KOR ligands, the compounds presented here are highly modular, readily synthesized and, in most cases, achiral. The four new chemotypes hold promise for further development into chemical tools for studying the KOR or as potential therapeutic lead candidates.
kappa opioid receptor agonist; kappa opioid receptor antagonist; high-throughput screening
Herein we present the outcome of a high throughput screening
campaign-based strategy for the rapid identification and optimization
of selective and general chemotypes for both kappa (κ) opioid
receptor (KOR) activation and inhibition. In this program, we have
developed potent antagonists (IC50 < 120 nM) or agonists
of high binding affinity (Ki < 3 nM).
In contrast to many important KOR ligands, the compounds presented
here are highly modular, readily synthesized, and, in most cases,
achiral. The four new chemotypes hold promise for further development
into chemical tools for studying the KOR or as potential therapeutic
Kappa opioid receptor agonist; kappa opioid receptor
antagonist; high-throughput screening
The hematopoietic protein tyrosine phosphatase (HePTP) is implicated in the development of blood cancers through its ability to negatively regulate the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) ERK1/2 and p38. Small-molecule modulators of HePTP activity may become valuable in treating hematopoietic malignancies such as T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Moreover, such compounds will further elucidate the regulation of MAPKs in hematopoietic cells. Although transient activation of MAPKs is crucial for growth and proliferation, prolonged activation of these important signaling molecules induces differentiation, cell cycle arrest, cell senescence, and apoptosis. Specific HePTP inhibitors may promote the latter and thereby may halt the growth of cancer cells. Here, we report the development of a small molecule that augments ERK1/2 and p38 activation in human T cells, specifically by inhibiting HePTP. Structure-activity relationship analysis, in silico docking studies, and mutagenesis experiments reveal how the inhibitor achieves selectivity for HePTP over related phosphatases by interacting with unique amino acid residues in the periphery of the highly conserved catalytic pocket. Importantly, we utilize this compound to show that pharmacological inhibition of HePTP not only augments, but also prolongs activation of ERK1/2 and, especially, p38. Moreover, we present similar effects in leukocytes from mice intraperitoneally injected with the inhibitor at doses as low as 3 mg/kg. Our results warrant future studies with this probe compound that may establish HePTP as a new drug target for acute leukemic conditions.
We report the discovery and validation of a series of benzoisothiazolones as potent inhibitors of phosphomannose isomerase (PMI), an enzyme which converts mannose-6-phosphate (Man-6-P) into fructose-6-phosphate (Fru-6-P), and more importantly, competes with phosphomannomutase 2 (PMM2) for Man-6-P, diverting this substrate from critical protein glycosylation events. In Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation type Ia, PMM2 activity is compromised, thus PMI inhibition is a potential strategy for the development of therapeutics. High-throughput screening (HTS) and subsequent chemical optimization led to the identification of a novel class of benzoisothiazolones as potent PMI inhibitors having little or no PMM2 inhibition. Two complimentary synthetic routes were developed enabling the critical structural requirements for activity to be determined, and the compounds were subsequently profiled in biochemical and cellular assays to assess efficacy. The most promising compounds were also profiled for bioavailability parameters including metabolic stability, plasma stability, and permeability. The pharmacokinetic profile of a representative of this series was also assessed, demonstrating the potential of this series for in vivo efficacy when dosed orally in disease models.
NLR family proteins play important roles in innate immune response. NOD1 (NLRC1) activates various signaling pathways including NF-κB in response to bacterial ligands. Hereditary polymorphisms in the NOD1 gene are associated with asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and other disorders. Using a high throughput screening (HTS) assay measuring NOD1-induced NF-κB reporter gene activity, followed by multiple downstream counter-screens that eliminated compounds impacting other NF-κB pathways, 2-aminobenzimidazole compounds were identified that selectively inhibit NOD1. Mechanistic studies of a prototypical compound, Nodinitib-1 (ML130; CID-1088438), suggest these small molecules cause conformational changes of NOD1 in vitro and alter NOD1 subcellular targeting in cells. Altogether, this inaugural class of inhibitors provides chemical probes for interrogating mechanisms regulating NOD1 activity and tools for exploring the roles of NOD1 in various infectious and inflammatory diseases.
NOD1; NOD2; NLR; NF-κB; HTS
Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) plays a major role in maintaining a ratio of phosphate to inorganic pyrophosphate (Pi/PPi) in biological fluids that is conducive to controlled skeletal mineralization while preventing inappropriate ectopic calcification. Medial calcification associated with Enpp1 or Ank deficiency or with end–stage renal disease is associated with an increase in TNAP activity in arteries that leads to reduced levels of PPi and increased vascular calcification. Here, we describe in detail a high-throughput screening (HTS) campaign to identify inhibitors of TNAP, performed within the Molecular Library Screening Center Network (MLSCN). A homogeneous luminescent TNAP assay was developed and optimized for identification of compounds with diverse mechanism of action (MOA). The MLSCN compound collection, containing 64,394 molecules at the time of screening, was tested in the assay. Several novel inhibitory scaffold classes were identified and demonstrated to have diverse selectivity and mode of inhibition (MOI) profiles. Representatives of the novel scaffolds exhibited nanomolar potency surpassing the inhibitors known to date.
This paper sets a successful example in which pharmacologically active compounds, with outstanding selectivity in a panel of more than 200 assays, are identified from high throughput screening. Integral to the success of the project were a well-designed compound collection, an industrial-level screening facility and a deep knowledge of target biology that were brought together through the NIH-sponsored Roadmap Initiative.
NIH Roadmap Initiatives; MLSCN; TNAP inhibitors; diverse MOA; compound selectivity
The tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) isozyme is centrally involved in the control of normal skeletal mineralization and pathophysiological abnormalities that lead to disease states such as hypophosphatasia, osteoarthritis, ankylosis and vascular calcification. TNAP acts in concert with the nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase-1 (NPP1) and the Ankylosis protein to regulate the extracellular concentrations of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a potent inhibitor of mineralization. In this review we describe the serial development of two miniaturized high-throughput screens (HTS) for TNAP inhibitors that differ in both signal generation and detection formats, but more critically in the concentrations of a terminal alcohol acceptor used. These assay improvements allowed the rescue of the initially unsuccessful screening campaign against a large small molecule chemical library, but moreover enabled the discovery of several unique classes of molecules with distinct mechanisms of action and selectivity against the related placental (PLAP) and intestinal (IAP) alkaline phosphatase isozymes. This illustrates the underappreciated impact of the underlying fundamental assay configuration on screening success, beyond mere signal generation and detection formats.
diethanolamine (DEA); absorption spectroscopy; luminescence; high throughput screening; CDP-Star®; Molecular Libraries; tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase; alkaline phosphatase; chemical library; para-nitrophenylphosphate
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) have only recently become the focus of attention in the search for novel drug targets despite the fact that they play vital roles in numerous cellular processes and are implicated in many human diseases. The hematopoietic protein tyrosine phosphatase (HePTP) is often found dysregulated in preleukemic myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), as well as in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Physiological substrates of HePTP include the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) ERK1/2 and p38. Specific modulators of HePTP catalytic activity will be useful for elucidating mechanisms of MAPK regulation in hematopietic cells, and may also provide treatments for hematopoietic malignancies such as AML. Here we report the discovery of phenoxyacetic acids as inhibitors of HePTP. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis and in silico docking studies reveal the molecular basis of HePTP inhibition by these compounds. We also show that these compounds are able to penetrate cell membranes and inhibit HePTP in human T lymphocytes.
HePTP; PTPN7; inhibitors; p38; myelodysplastic syndrome; myelogenous leukemia
High throughput screening of 66,000 compounds using competitive binding of peptides comprising the BH3 domain to anti-apoptotic Bfl-1 led to the identification of fourteen validated “hits” as inhibitors of Bfl-1. N-Aryl maleimide 1 was among the validated “hits”. A chemical library encompassing over 280 analogs of 1 was prepared following a two-step synthesis. Structure-activity studies for inhibition of Bfl-1 by analogs of N-aryl maleimide 1 revealed a preference for electron-withdrawing substituents in the N-aryl ring and hydrophilic amines appended to the maleimide core. Inhibitors of Bfl-1 are potential development candidates for anti-cancer therapeutics.
Bfl-1 inhibitors; N-aryl maleimides; high-throughput screening; anti-cancer agents
Binding of leukocyte specific integrin CD11b/CD18 to its physiologic ligands is important for the development of normal immune response in vivo. Integrin CD11b/CD18 is also a key cellular effector of various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, small molecules selectively inhibiting the function of integrin CD11b/CD18 are currently lacking. We used a newly described cell-based high throughput screening assay to identify a number of highly potent antagonists of integrin CD11b/CD18 from chemical libraries containing >100,000 unique compounds. Computational analyses suggest that the identified compounds cluster into several different chemical classes. A number of the newly identified compounds blocked adhesion of wild-type mouse neutrophils to CD11b/CD18 ligand fibrinogen. Mapping the most active compounds against chemical fingerprints of known antagonists of related integrin CD11a/CD18 shows little structural similarity, suggesting that the newly identified compounds are novel and unique.
Integrin; CD11b/CD18; inhibitor; screening; HTS assay; adhesion assay
Placental Alkaline Phosphatase (PLAP) is a tissue-restricted isozyme of the Alkaline Phosphatase (AP) superfamily. PLAP is an oncodevelopmental enzyme expressed during pregnancy and in a variety of human cancers, but its biological function remains unknown. We report here a series of catechol compounds with great affinity for the PLAP isozyme and significant selectivity over other members of the AP superfamily. These selective PLAP inhibitors will provide small molecule probes for the study of the pathophysiological role of PLAP.
Enzyme inhibitor; Placental Alkaline Phosphatase; cancer; oncodevelopmental
We report the characterization and optimization of drug-like small molecule inhibitors of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), an enzyme critical for the regulation of extracellular matrix calcification during bone formation and growth. High-throughput screening (HTS) of a small molecule library led to the identification of arylsulfonamides as potent and selective inhibitors of TNAP. Critical structural requirements for activity were determined, and the compounds were subsequently profiled for in vitro activity and bioavailability parameters including metabolic stability and permeability. The plasma levels following subcutaneous administration of a member of the lead series in rat was determined, demonstrating the potential of these TNAP inhibitors as systemically active therapeutic agents to target various diseases involving soft tissue calcification. A representative member of the series was also characterized in mechanistic and kinetic studies.
Successful cancer therapies aim to induce selective apoptosis in neoplastic cells. The current suboptimal efficiency and selectivity drugs have therapeutic limitations and induce concomitant side effects. Recently, novel cancer therapies based on the use of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) have emerged. TRAIL, a key component of the natural antitumor immune response, selectively kills many tumor cell types. Earlier studies with recombinant TRAIL, however, revealed its many shortcomings including a short half-life, off-target toxicity, and existence of TRAIL-resistant tumor cells. We improved the efficacy of recombinant TRAIL redesigning its structure and the expression and purification procedures. The result is a highly stable leucine zipper (LZ)-TRAIL chimera that is simple to produce and purify This chimera functions as a trimer in a manner that similar to natural TRAIL. The formulation of the recombinant LZ-TRAIL we have developed has displayed high specific activity in both cell-based assays in vitro and animal tests in vivo. Our results have shown that the half-of LZ-TRAIL is improved and now exceeds 1 h in mice compared with a half-life of only minutes reported earlier for recombinant TRAIL. We have concluded that our LZ TRAIL construct will serve as a foundation for a new generation of fully human LZ-TRAIL proteins suitable use in preclinical and clinical studies and for effective combination therapies to overcome tumor resistance TRAIL.
Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) plays a central role in regulating extracellular matrix calcification during bone formation and growth. High throughput screening (HTS) for small molecule TNAP inhibitors led to the identification of hits in the sub-micromolar potency range. We report the design, synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a series of pyrazole derivatives of a screening hit which are potent TNAP inhibitors exhibiting IC50 values as low as 5 nM. A representative of the series was characterized in kinetic studies and determined to have a mode of inhibition not previously observed for TNAP inhibitors.
Intracellular proteases constitute a class of promising drug discovery targets. Methods for high throughput screening against these targets are generally limited to in vitro biochemical assays that can suffer many technical limitations, as well as failing to capture the biological context of proteases within the cellular pathways that lead to their activation.
Methods & Findings
We describe here a versatile system for reconstituting protease activation networks in yeast and assaying the activity of these pathways using a cleavable transcription factor substrate in conjunction with reporter gene read-outs. The utility of these versatile assay components and their application for screening strategies was validated for all ten human Caspases, a family of intracellular proteases involved in cell death and inflammation, including implementation of assays for high throughput screening (HTS) of chemical libraries and functional screening of cDNA libraries. The versatility of the technology was also demonstrated for human autophagins, cysteine proteases involved in autophagy.
Altogether, the yeast-based systems described here for monitoring activity of ectopically expressed mammalian proteases provide a fascile platform for functional genomics and chemical library screening.