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1.  Discovery of Chemical Modulators of a Conserved Translational Control Pathway by Parallel Screening in Yeast 
Eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2) B is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that plays a central role in translation initiation and its control, especially in response to diverse cellular stresses. In addition, inherited mutations in human eIF2B subunits cause a fatal brain disorder commonly called childhood ataxia with central nervous system hypomyelination or leukoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter. In yeast, inhibiting activity of eIF2B up-regulates expression of the transcriptional activator general control nondepressible (GCN) 4. We report here evaluation of high-throughput screening (HTS) using a yeast-based reporter gene assay, in which strains containing either wild-type or a mutant eIF2B were screened in parallel to identify compounds modifying eIF2B-dependent responses. The goals of the HTS were twofold: first, to discover compounds that restore normal function to mutant eIF2B, which may have therapeutic utility for the fatal human disease; and second, to identify compounds that activate a GCN4 response, which might be useful experimental tools. The HTS assay measured cell growth by absorbance, and activation of gene expression via a β-galactosidase reporter gene fusion. Because mutant eIF2B activates GCN4 in the absence of stress inducers, the mutant strain was screened for reduction in GCN4 activation. HTS revealed apparent mutant-selective inhibitors but did not reliably predict selectivity as these hits affected both wild-type and mutant strains equally on dose–response confirmation. Wild-type strain results from the HTS identified two GCN4 response activators, both of which were confirmed to be wild-type selective in dose–response testing, suggesting that these compounds may activate GCN4 by a mechanism that down-regulates eIF2B activity.
PMCID: PMC2980340  PMID: 19715453
2.  Evaluation of an Orthogonal Pooling Strategy for Rapid High-Throughput Screening of Proteases 
Orthogonal pooling was evaluated as a strategy for the rapid screening of multiple cysteine and serine proteases against large compound libraries. To validate the method the human cysteine protease cathepsin B was screened against a library of 64,000 individual compounds and also against the same library mixed 10 compounds per well. The orthogonal pooling method used resulted in each compound being present in two wells, mixed with a different set of nine other compounds in each location. Thus hits were identified based on activity in both locations, avoiding the need for retesting of each component of active mixtures. Hits were tested in dose–response both in the dithiothreitol (DTT)-containing buffer used in the primary HTS and in buffer containing cysteine in place of DTT to rule out artifacts due to oxidative inactivation of the enzyme. Comparison of the confirmed actives from single-compound and mixture screening showed that mixture screening identified all of the actives from single-compound HTS. Based on these results the orthogonal pooling strategy has been used successfully to rapidly screen several cysteine and serine proteases.
PMCID: PMC2971631  PMID: 18593377

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