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1.  Increased cytochrome c in rat cerebrospinal fluid after cardiac arrest and its effects on hypoxic neuronal survival 
Resuscitation  2012;83(12):1491-1496.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteins may be useful biomarkers of neuronal death and ultimate prognosis after hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Cytochrome c has been identified in the CSF of children following traumatic brain injury. Cytochrome c is required for cellular respiration but it is also a central component of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Thus, in addition to serving as a biomarker, cytochrome c release into CSF may have an effect upon survival of adjacent neurons. In this study, we use Western blot and ELISA to show that cytochrome c is elevated in CSF obtained from pediatric rats following resuscitation from cardiac arrest. Using biotinylated human cytochrome c in culture media we show that cytochrome c crosses the cell membrane and is incorporated into mitochondria of neurons exposed to anoxia. Lastly, we show that addition of human cytochrome c to primary neuronal culture exposed to anoxia improves survival. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show cytochrome c is elevated in CSF following hypoxic ischemic brain injury. Results from primary neuronal culture suggest that extracellular cytochrome c is able to cross the cell membrane of injured neurons, incorporate into mitochondria, and promote survival following anoxia.
doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.04.009
PMCID: PMC3445744  PMID: 22554683
cerebrospinal fluid; brain ischemia; cardiac arrest; cytochrome c
2.  Development and Validation of a High-Content Screening Assay to Identify Inhibitors of Cytoplasmic Dynein-Mediated Transport of Glucocorticoid Receptor to the Nucleus 
Abstract
Rapid ligand-induced trafficking of glucocorticoid nuclear hormone receptor (GR) from the cytoplasm to the nucleus is an extensively studied model for intracellular retrograde cargo transport employed in constructive morphogenesis and many other cellular functions. Unfortunately, potent and selective small-molecule disruptors of this process are lacking, which has restricted pharmacological investigations. We describe here the development and validation of a 384-well high-content screening (HCS) assay to identify inhibitors of the rapid ligand-induced retrograde translocation of cytoplasmic glucocorticoid nuclear hormone receptor green fluorescent fusion protein (GR-GFP) into the nuclei of 3617.4 mouse mammary adenocarcinoma cells. We selected 3617.4 cells, because they express GR-GFP under the control of a tetracycline (Tet)-repressible promoter and are exceptionally amenable to image acquisition and analysis procedures. Initially, we investigated the time-dependent expression of GR-GFP in 3617.4 cells under Tet-on and Tet-off control to determine the optimal conditions to measure dexamethasone (Dex)-induced GR-GFP nuclear translocation on the ArrayScan-VTI automated imaging platform. We then miniaturized the assay into a 384-well format and validated the performance of the GR-GFP nuclear translocation HCS assay in our 3-day assay signal window and dimethylsulfoxide validation tests. The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) plays an essential role in the regulation of GR steroid binding affinity and ligand-induced retrograde trafficking to the nucleus. We verified that the GR-GFP HCS assay captured the concentration-dependent inhibition of GR-GFP nuclear translocation by 17-AAG, a benzoquinone ansamycin that selectively blocks the binding and hydrolysis of ATP by Hsp90. We screened the 1280 compound library of pharmacologically active compounds set in the Dex-induced GR-GFP nuclear translocation assay and used the multi-parameter HCS data to eliminate cytotoxic compounds and fluorescent outliers. We identified five qualified hits that inhibited the rapid retrograde trafficking of GR-GFP in a concentration-dependent manner: Bay 11-7085, 4-phenyl-3-furoxancarbonitrile, parthenolide, apomorphine, and 6-nitroso-1,2-benzopyrone. The data presented here demonstrate that the GR-GFP HCS assay provides an effective phenotypic screen and support the proposition that screening a larger library of diversity compounds will yield novel small-molecule probes that will enable the further exploration of intracellular retrograde transport of cargo along microtubules, a process which is essential to the morphogenesis and function of all cells.
doi:10.1089/adt.2012.456
PMCID: PMC3464420  PMID: 22830992
3.  Characterization of Inhibitors of Glucocorticoid Receptor Nuclear Translocation: A Model of Cytoplasmic Dynein-Mediated Cargo Transport 
Abstract
Agonist-induced glucocorticoid receptor [GR] transport from the cytoplasm to the nucleus was used as a model to identify dynein-mediated cargo transport inhibitors. Cell-based screening of the library of pharmacologically active compound (LOPAC)-1280 collection identified several small molecules that stalled the agonist-induced transport of GR-green fluorescent protein (GFP) in a concentration-dependent manner. Fluorescent images of microtubule organization, nuclear DNA staining, expression of GR-GFP, and its subcellular distribution were inspected and quantified by image analysis to evaluate the impact of compounds on cell morphology, toxicity, and GR transport. Given the complexity of the multi-protein complex involved in dynein-mediated cargo transport and the variety of potential mechanisms for interruption of that process, we therefore developed and validated a panel of biochemical assays to investigate some of the more likely intracellular target(s) of the GR transport inhibitors. Although the apomorphine enantiomers exhibited the most potency toward the ATPase activities of cytoplasmic dynein, myosin, and the heat-shock proteins (HSPs), their apparent lack of specificity made them unattractive for further study in our quest. Other molecules appeared to be nonspecific inhibitors that targeted reactive cysteines of proteins. Ideally, specific retrograde transport inhibitors would either target dynein itself or one of the other important proteins associated with the transport process. Although the hits from the cell-based screen of the LOPAC-1280 collection did not exhibit this desired profile, this screening platform provided a promising phenotypic system for the discovery of dynein/HSP modulators.
doi:10.1089/adt.2010.0367
PMCID: PMC3277738  PMID: 21919741
4.  Characterization and Optimization of a Novel Protein–Protein Interaction Biosensor High-Content Screening Assay to Identify Disruptors of the Interactions Between p53 and hDM2 
Abstract
We present here the characterization and optimization of a novel imaging-based positional biosensor high-content screening (HCS) assay to identify disruptors of p53-hDM2 protein–protein interactions (PPIs). The chimeric proteins of the biosensor incorporated the N-terminal PPI domains of p53 and hDM2, protein targeting sequences (nuclear localization and nuclear export sequence), and fluorescent reporters, which when expressed in cells could be used to monitor p53-hDM2 PPIs through changes in the subcellular localization of the hDM2 component of the biosensor. Coinfection with the recombinant adenovirus biosensors was used to express the NH-terminal domains of p53 and hDM2, fused to green fluorescent protein and red fluorescent protein, respectively, in U-2 OS cells. We validated the p53-hDM2 PPI biosensor (PPIB) HCS assay with Nutlin-3, a compound that occupies the hydrophobic pocket on the surface of the N-terminus of hDM2 and blocks the binding interactions with the N-terminus of p53. Nutlin-3 disrupted the p53-hDM2 PPIB in a concentration-dependent manner and provided a robust, reproducible, and stable assay signal window that was compatible with HCS. The p53-hDM2 PPIB assay was readily implemented in HCS and we identified four (4) compounds in the 1,280-compound Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds that activated the p53 signaling pathway and elicited biosensor signals that were clearly distinct from the responses of inactive compounds. Anthracycline (topoisomerase II inhibitors such as mitoxantrone and ellipticine) and camptothecin (topoisomerase I inhibitor) derivatives including topotecan induce DNA double strand breaks, which activate the p53 pathway through the ataxia telangiectasia mutated-checkpoint kinase 2 (ATM-CHK2) DNA damage response pathway. Although mitoxantrone, ellipticine, camptothecin, and topotecan all exhibited concentration-dependent disruption of the p53-hDM2 PPIB, they were much less potent than Nutlin-3. Further, their corresponding cellular images and quantitative HCS data did not completely match the Nutlin-3 phenotypic profile.
doi:10.1089/adt.2010.0281
PMCID: PMC2929144  PMID: 20662736
5.  Design and Synthesis of a Library of Tetracyclic Hydroazulenoisoindoles 
Forty-four tetracyclic hydroazulenoisoindoles were synthesized via a tandem cyclopropanation/Cope rearrangement followed by a Diels-Alder sequence from easily available five-membered cyclic cross-conjugated trienones. These trienones were obtained from two different routes depending upon whether R1 and R2 are alkyl or amino acid derived functional groups, via a rhodium(I)-catalyzed cycloisomerization reaction. In order to increase diversity, four maleimides and two 1,2,4-triazoline-3,5-diones were used as dienophiles in the Diels-Alder step. Several Diels-Alder adducts were further reacted under palladium-catalyzed hydrogenation conditions, leading to a diastereoselective reduction of the trisubstituted double bond. This library has demonstrated rapid access to a variety of structurally complex natural product-like compounds via stereochemical diversity and building block diversity approaches.
doi:10.1021/cc900024p
PMCID: PMC3104412  PMID: 19366169
6.  Cdc25B Dual-Specificity Phosphatase Inhibitors Identified in a High-Throughput Screen of the NIH Compound Library 
Abstract
The University of Pittsburgh Molecular Library Screening Center (Pittsburgh, PA) conducted a screen with the National Institutes of Health compound library for inhibitors of in vitro cell division cycle 25 protein (Cdc25) B activity during the pilot phase of the Molecular Library Screening Center Network. Seventy-nine (0.12%) of the 65,239 compounds screened at 10 μM met the active criterion of ≥50% inhibition of Cdc25B activity, and 25 (31.6%) of these were confirmed as Cdc25B inhibitors with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values <50 μM. Thirteen of the Cdc25B inhibitors were represented by singleton chemical structures, and 12 were divided among four clusters of related structures. Thirteen (52%) of the Cdc25B inhibitor hits were quinone-based structures. The Cdc25B inhibitors were further characterized in a series of in vitro secondary assays to confirm their activity, to determine their phosphatase selectivity against two other dual-specificity phosphatases, mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP)-1 and MKP-3, and to examine if the mechanism of Cdc25B inhibition involved oxidation and inactivation. Nine Cdc25B inhibitors did not appear to affect Cdc25B through a mechanism involving oxidation because they did not generate detectable amounts of H2O2 in the presence of dithiothreitol, and their Cdc25B IC50 values were not significantly affected by exchanging the dithiothreitol for β-mercaptoethanol or reduced glutathione or by adding catalase to the assay. Six of the nonoxidative hits were selective for Cdc25B inhibition versus MKP-1 and MKP-3, but only the two bisfuran-containing hits, PubChem substance identifiers 4258795 and 4260465, significantly inhibited the growth of human MBA-MD-435 breast and PC-3 prostate cancer cell lines. To confirm the structure and biological activity of 4260465, the compound was resynthesized along with two analogs. Neither of the substitutions to the two analogs was tolerated, and only the resynthesized hit 26683752 inhibited Cdc25B activity in vitro (IC50 = 13.83 ± 1.0 μM) and significantly inhibited the growth of the MBA-MD-435 breast and PC-3 prostate cancer cell lines (IC50 = 20.16 ± 2.0 μM and 24.87 ± 2.25 μM, respectively). The two bis-furan-containing hits identified in the screen represent novel nonoxidative Cdc25B inhibitor chemotypes that block tumor cell proliferation. The availability of non-redox active Cdc25B inhibitors should provide valuable tools to explore the inhibition of the Cdc25 phosphatases as potential mono- or combination therapies for cancer.
doi:10.1089/adt.2008.186
PMCID: PMC2956648  PMID: 19530895
7.  Development of a 384-Well Colorimetric Assay to Quantify Hydrogen Peroxide Generated by the Redox Cycling of Compounds in the Presence of Reducing Agents 
We report here the development and optimization of a simple 384-well colorimetric assay to measure H2O2 generated by the redox cycling of compounds incubated with reducing agents in high-throughput screening (HTS) assay buffers. The phenol red-horseradish peroxidase (HRP) assay readily detected H2O2 either added exogenously or generated by the redox cycling of compounds in dithiothreitol (DTT). The generation of H2O2 was dependent on the concentration of both the compound and DTT and was abolished by catalase. Although both DTT and tris(2-carboxyethyl)-phosphine sustain the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by a model quinolinedione, 6-chloro-7-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethylamino)-quinoline-5,8-dione (NSC 663284; DA3003-1), other reducing agents such as β-mercaptoethanol, glutathione, and cysteine do not. The assay is compatible with HTS. Once terminated, the assay signal was stable for at least 5 h, allowing for a reasonable throughput. The assay tolerated up to 20% dimethyl sulfoxide, allowing a wide range of compound concentrations to be tested. The assay signal window was robust and reproducible with average Z-factors of ≥0.8, and the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by DA3003-1 in DTT exhibited an average 50% effective concentration of 0.830 ± 0.068 μM. Five of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP) 1 inhibitors identified in an HTS were shown to generate H2O2 in the presence of DTT, and their inhibition of MKP-1 activity was shown to be time dependent and was abolished or significantly reduced by either 100 U of catalase or by higher DTT levels. A cross-target query of the PubChem database with three structurally related pyrimidotriazinediones revealed active flags in 36–39% of the primary screening assays. Activity was confirmed against a number of targets containing active site cysteines, including protein tyrosine phosphatases, cathepsins, and caspases, as well as a number of cellular cytotoxicity assays. Rather than utilize resources to conduct a hit characterization effort involving several secondary assays, the phenol red-HRP assay provides a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive method to identify compounds that redox cycle in DTT or tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine to produce H2O2 that may indirectly modulate target activity and represent promiscuous false-positives from a primary screen.
doi:10.1089/adt.2008.151
PMCID: PMC2752819  PMID: 18699726
8.  Development of a 384-Well Colorimetric Assay to Quantify Hydrogen Peroxide Generated by the Redox Cycling of Compounds in the Presence of Reducing Agents 
Abstract
We report here the development and optimization of a simple 384-well colorimetric assay to measure H2O2 generated by the redox cycling of compounds incubated with reducing agents in high-throughput screening (HTS) assay buffers. The phenol red-horseradish peroxidase (HRP) assay readily detected H2O2 either added exogenously or generated by the redox cycling of compounds in dithiothreitol (DTT). The generation of H2O2 was dependent on the concentration of both the compound and DTT and was abolished by catalase. Although both DTT and tris(2-carboxyethyl)-phosphine sustain the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by a model quinolinedione, 6-chloro-7-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethylamino)-quinoline-5,8-dione (NSC 663284; DA3003-1), other reducing agents such as β-mercaptoethanol, glutathione, and cysteine do not. The assay is compatible with HTS. Once terminated, the assay signal was stable for at least 5 h, allowing for a reasonable throughput. The assay tolerated up to 20% dimethyl sulfoxide, allowing a wide range of compound concentrations to be tested. The assay signal window was robust and reproducible with average Z-factors of ≥0.8, and the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by DA3003-1 in DTT exhibited an average 50% effective concentration of 0.830 μ 0.068 μM. Five of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP) 1 inhibitors identified in an HTS were shown to generate H2O2 in the presence of DTT, and their inhibition of MKP-1 activity was shown to be time dependent and was abolished or significantly reduced by either 100 U of catalase or by higher DTT levels. A cross-target query of the PubChem database with three structurally related pyrimidotriazinediones revealed active flags in 36–39% of the primary screening assays. Activity was confirmed against a number of targets containing active site cysteines, including protein tyrosine phosphatases, cathepsins, and caspases, as well as a number of cellular cytotoxicity assays. Rather than utilize resources to conduct a hit characterization effort involving several secondary assays, the phenol red-HRP assay provides a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive method to identify compounds that redox cycle in DTT or tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine to produce H2O2 that may indirectly modulate target activity and represent promiscuous false-positives from a primary screen.
doi:10.1089/adt.2008.151
PMCID: PMC2752819  PMID: 18699726
9.  Profiling the NIH Small Molecule Repository for Compounds That Generate H2O2 by Redox Cycling in Reducing Environments 
We have screened the Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Molecule Repository (SMR) libraries in a horseradish peroxidase–phenol red (HRP-PR) H2O2 detection assay to identify redox cycling compounds (RCCs) capable of generating H2O2 in buffers containing dithiothreitol (DTT). Two RCCs were identified in the LOPAC set, the ortho-naphthoquinone β-lapachone and the para-naphthoquinone NSC 95397. Thirty-seven (0.02%) concentration-dependent RCCs were identified from 195,826 compounds in the NIH SMR library; 3 singleton structures, 9 ortho-quinones, 2 para-quinones, 4 pyrimidotriazinediones, 15 arylsulfonamides, 2 nitrothiophene-2-carboxylates, and 2 tolyl hydrazides. Sixty percent of the ortho-quinones and 80% of the pyrimidotriazinediones in the library were confirmed as RCCs. In contrast, only 3.9% of the para-quinones were confirmed as RCCs. Fifteen of the 251 arylsulfonamides in the library were confirmed as RCCs, and since we screened 17,868 compounds with a sulfonamide functional group we conclude that the redox cycling activity of the arylsulfonamide RCCs is due to peripheral reactive enone, aromatic, or heterocyclic functions. Cross-target queries of the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute (UPDDI) and PubChem databases revealed that the RCCs exhibited promiscuous bioactivity profiles and have populated both screening databases with significantly higher numbers of active flags than non-RCCs. RCCs were promiscuously active against protein targets known to be susceptible to oxidation, but were also active in cell growth inhibition assays, and against other targets thought to be insensitive to oxidation. Profiling compound libraries or the hits from screening campaigns in the HRP-PR H2O2 detection assay significantly reduce the timelines and resources required to identify and eliminate promiscuous nuisance RCCs from the candidates for lead optimization.
doi:10.1089/adt.2009.0247
PMCID: PMC3098569  PMID: 20070233

Results 1-9 (9)