[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: K2P (KCNK) potassium channels generate 'leak' potassium currents that strongly influence cellular excitability and contribute to pain, somatosensation, anesthesia, and mood. Despite their physiological importance, K2Ps lack specific pharmacology. Addressing this issue has been complicated by the challenges that the leak nature of K2P currents poses for electrophysiology-based high throughput screening strategies. Here, we present a yeast-based high-throughput screening assay that avoids this problem. Using a simple growth-based functional readout, we screened a library of 106,281 small molecules and identified two new inhibitors and three new activators of the mammalian K2P channel K2P2.1 (KCNK2, TREK 1). By combining biophysical, structure activity, and mechanistic analysis, we developed a dihydroacridine analog, ML67-33, that acts as a low micromolar, selective activator of temperature- and mechano-sensitive K2P channels. Biophysical studies show that ML67-33 reversibly increases channel currents by activating the extracellular selectivity filter-based C type gate that forms the core gating apparatus on which a variety of diverse modulatory inputs converge. The new K2P modulators presented here, together with the yeast based assay, should enable both mechanistic and physiological studies of K2P activity and facilitate the discovery and development of other K2P small molecule modulators.
ACS Chemical Biology 06/2013; · 5.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent an important venue for understanding basic principles regulating tissue-specific differentiation and discovering new tools that may facilitate clinical applications. Mechanisms that direct neural differentiation of PSCs involve growth factor signaling and transcription regulation. However, it is unknown whether and how electrical activity influences this process. Here we report a high throughput imaging-based screen, which uncovers that selamectin, an anti-helminthic therapeutic compound with reported activity on invertebrate glutamate-gated chloride channels, promotes neural differentiation of PSCs. We show that selamectin's pro-neurogenic activity is mediated by γ2-containing GABAA receptors in subsets of neural rosette progenitors, accompanied by increased proneural and lineage-specific transcription factor expression and cell cycle exit. In vivo, selamectin promotes neurogenesis in developing zebrafish. Our results establish a chemical screening platform that reveals activity-dependent neural differentiation from PSCs. Compounds identified in this and future screening might prove therapeutically beneficial for treating neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorders. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00508.001.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high-throughput (HT) paradigm generating LC-MS-UV-ELSD-based natural product libraries to discover compounds with new bioactivities and or molecular structures is presented. To validate this methodology, an extract of the Indo-Pacific marine sponge Cacospongia mycofijiensis was evaluated using assays involving cytoskeletal profiling, tumor cell lines, and parasites. Twelve known compounds were identified including latrunculins (1-4, 10), fijianolides (5, 8, 9), mycothiazole (11), aignopsanes (6, 7), and sacrotride A (13). Compounds 1-5 and 8-11 exhibited bioactivity not previously reported against the parasite T. brucei, while 11 showed selectivity for lymphoma (U937) tumor cell lines. Four new compounds were also discovered including aignopsanoic acid B (13), apo-latrunculin T (14), 20-methoxy-fijianolide A (15), and aignopsane ketal (16). Compounds 13 and 16 represent important derivatives of the aignopsane class, 14 exhibited inhibition of T. brucei without disrupting microfilament assembly, and 15 demonstrated modest microtubule-stabilizing effects. The use of removable well plate libraries to avoid false positives from extracts enriched with only one or two major metabolites is also discussed. Overall, these results highlight the advantages of applying modern methods in natural products-based research to accelerate the HT discovery of therapeutic leads and/or new molecular structures using LC-MS-UV-ELSD-based libraries.
Journal of Natural Products 11/2011; 74(12):2545-55. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of a high-throughput technique to perform a pilot screen for Leishmania major protein disulfide isomerase (LmPDI) inhibitors identification is reported. In eukaryotic cells, protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) plays a crucial role in protein folding by catalyzing the rearrangement of disulfide bonds in substrate proteins following their synthesis. LmPDI displays similar domain structure organization and functional properties to other PDI family members and is involved in Leishmania virulence. The authors used a method based on the enzyme-catalyzed reduction of insulin in the presence of dithiothreitol. The screen of a small library of 1920 compounds was performed in a 384-well format and led to the identification of 27 compounds with inhibitory activity against LmPDI. The authors further tested the cytotoxicity of these compounds using Jurkat cells as well as their effect on Leishmania donovani amastigotes using high-content analysis. Results show hexachlorophene and a mixture of theaflavin monogallates inhibit Leishmania multiplication in infected macrophages derived from THP-1 cells, although the inhibitory effect on LmPDI enzymatic activity does not necessarily correlate with the antileishmanial activity.
Journal of Biomolecular Screening 03/2011; 16(5):545-51. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of benzoxaborole antitrypanosomal agents and their structure−activity relationships on central linkage groups and different substitution patterns in the sulfur-linked series. The compounds showed in vitro growth inhibition IC50 values as low as 0.02 μg/mL and in vivo efficacy in acute murine infection models against Tryapnosoma brucei.Keywords (keywords): Tryapnosoma brucei; African trypanosomiasis; benzoxaborole
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, commonly known as African sleeping sickness) is categorized as a neglected disease, as it afflicts >50,000 people annually in sub-saharan Africa, and there are few formal programs in the world focused on drug discovery approaches for this disease. In this study, we examined the crude extracts of two fungal strains (Aspergillus fumigatus and Nectria inventa) isolated from deep water sediment which provided >99% growth inhibition at 1microg/mL of Trypanosoma brucei, the causative parasite of HAT. A collection of fifteen natural products was supplemented with six semi-synthetic derivatives and one commercially available compound. Twelve of the compounds, each containing a diketopiperazine core, showed excellent activity against T. brucei (IC(50)=0.002-40microM), with selectivity over mammalian cells as great as 20-fold. The trypanocidal diketopiperazines were also tested against two cysteine protease targets Rhodesain and TbCatB, where five compounds showed inhibition activity at concentrations less than 20microM. A preliminary activity pattern is described and analyzed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A century after discovering that the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite is the etiological agent of Chagas disease, treatment is still plagued by limited efficacy, toxicity, and the emergence of drug resistance. The development of inhibitors of the major T. cruzi cysteine protease, cruzain, has been demonstrated to be a promising drug discovery avenue for this neglected disease. Here we establish that a nonpeptidic tetrafluorophenoxymethyl ketone cruzain inhibitor substantially ameliorates symptoms of acute Chagas disease in a mouse model with no apparent toxicity. A high-resolution crystal structure confirmed the mode of inhibition and revealed key binding interactions of this novel inhibitor class. Subsequent structure-guided optimization then resulted in inhibitor analogues with improvements in potency despite minimal or no additions in molecular weight. Evaluation of the analogues in cell culture showed enhanced activity. These results suggest that nonpeptidic tetrafluorophenoxymethyl ketone cruzain inhibitors have the potential to fulfill the urgent need for improved Chagas disease chemotherapy.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2010; 53(4):1763-73. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei are parasites that cause Chagas' disease and African sleeping sickness, respectively. Both parasites rely on essential cysteine proteases for survival: cruzain for T. cruzi and TbCatB/rhodesain for T. brucei. A recent quantitative high-throughput screen of cruzain identified triazine nitriles, which are known inhibitors of other cysteine proteases, as reversible inhibitors of the enzyme. Structural modifications detailed herein, including core scaffold modification from triazine to purine, improved the in vitro potency against both cruzain and rhodesain by 350-fold, while also gaining activity against T. brucei parasites. Selected compounds were screened against a panel of human cysteine and serine proteases to determine selectivity, and a cocrystal was obtained of our most potent analogue bound to cruzain.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2009; 53(1):52-60. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A survey of individual specimens of northern Papua New Guinea derived Cacospongia mycofijiensis has yielded novel sesquiterpenes, aignopsanoic acid A (1), methyl aignopsanoate A (2), and isoaignopsanoic acid A (3). The structures and absolute configurations of 1-3 were established using NMR data, X-ray crystallography results, and an analysis of CD properties. Two of these metabolites, 1 and 2, were moderately active against Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human African trypanosomiasis, also known as African sleeping sickness, is a neglected tropical disease with inadequate therapeutic options. We have launched a collaborative new lead discovery venture using our repository of extracts and natural product compounds as input into our growth inhibition primary screen against Trypanosoma brucei. Careful evaluation of the spectral data of the natural products and derivatives allowed for the elucidation of the absolute configuration (using the modified Mosher's method) of two new peroxiterpenes: (+)-muqubilone B (1a) and (-)-ent-muqubilone (3a). Five known compounds were also isolated: (+)-sigmosceptrellin A (4a), (+)-sigmosceptrellin A methyl ester (4b), (-)-sigmosceptrellin B (5), (+)-epi-muqubillin A (6), and (-)-epi-nuapapuin B methyl ester (7). The isolated peroxiterpenes demonstrated activities in the range IC(50) = 0.2-2 mug/mL.
Journal of Natural Products 02/2009; 72(2):218-22. · 3.29 Impact Factor