James F Tobin

Novartis, Berna, Bern, Switzerland

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Publications (35)232.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferases (GPATs) catalyze the first step in the synthesis of glycerolipids and glycerophospholipids. Microsomal GPAT, the major GPAT activity, is encoded by at least two closely related genes, GPAT3 and GPAT4. To investigate the in vivo functions of GPAT3, we generated Gpat3-deficient mice (Gpat3(-/-)). Total GPAT activity in white adipose tissue of Gpat3(-/-) mice was reduced by 80%, suggesting that GPAT3 is the predominant GPAT in this tissue. In liver, GPAT3-deletion had no impact on total GPAT activity, but resulted in a 30% reduction in N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive GPAT activity. The Gpat3(-/-) mice were viable and fertile, and exhibited no obvious metabolic abnormalities on standard laboratory chow. However, when fed a high-fat diet, female Gpat3(-/-) mice showed decreased body weight gain and adiposity and increased energy expenditure. Increased energy expenditure was also observed in male Gpat3(-/-) mice, although it was not accompanied by a significant change in body weight. GPAT3-deficiency lowered fed, but not fasted, glucose levels, and tended to improve glucose tolerance in diet-induced obese male and female mice. On a high-fat diet, Gpat3(-/-) mice had enlarged livers and displayed a dysregulation in cholesterol metabolism. These data establish GPAT3 as the primary GPAT in white adipose tissue and reveal an important role of the enzyme in regulating energy, glucose, and lipid homeostasis.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 04/2014; · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) catalyzes the conversion of inactive glucocorticoid cortisone to its active form, cortisol. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling pathway has been linked to the pathophysiology of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Herein, the structure-activity relationship of a series of piperazine sulfonamide-based 11β-HSD1 inhibitors is described. (R)-3,3,3-Trifluoro-2-(5-(((R)-4-(4-fluoro-2-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-2-methylpiperazin-1-yl)sulfonyl)thiophen-2-yl)-2-hydroxypropanamide 18a (HSD-621) was identified as a potent and selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitor and was ultimately selected as a clinical development candidate. HSD-621 has an attractive overall pharmaceutical profile and demonstrates good oral bioavailability in mouse, rat, and dog. When orally dosed in C57/BL6 diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice, HSD-621 was efficacious and showed a significant reduction in both fed and fasting glucose and insulin levels. Furthermore, HSD-621 was well tolerated in drug safety assessment studies.
    ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 01/2013; 4(1):118-23. · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) is one of two known DGAT enzymes that catalyze the final step in triglyceride synthesis. Findings from genetically modified mice as well as pharmacological studies suggest that inhibition of DGAT1 is a promising strategy for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Here we characterize a tool DGAT1 inhibitor compound, T863. We found that T863 is a potent inhibitor for both human and mouse DGAT1 in vitro, which acts on the acyl-CoA binding site of DGAT1 and inhibits DGAT1-mediated triacylglycerol formation in cells. In an acute lipid challenge model, oral administration of T863 significantly delayed fat absorption and resulted in lipid accumulation in the distal small intestine of mice, mimicking the effects of genetic ablation of DGAT1. In diet-induced obese mice, oral administration of T863 for 2 weeks caused weight loss, reduction in serum and liver triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity. In addition to the expected triglyceride-lowering activity, T863 also lowered serum cholesterol. Hepatic IRS2 protein was dramatically up-regulated in mice treated with T863, possibly contributing to improved insulin sensitivity. In differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, T863 enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, suggesting a possible role for adipocytes to improve insulin sensitivity upon DGAT1 inhibition. These results reveal novel mechanistic insights into the insulin-sensitizing effects of DGAT1 inhibition in mouse models. Taken together, our study provides a comprehensive evaluation of a small molecule inhibitor for DGAT1 and suggests that pharmacological inhibition of DGAT1 holds promise in treating diverse metabolic disorders.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(48):41838-51. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Effective therapies are needed to control excessive bleeding in a range of clinical conditions. We improve hemostasis in vivo using a conformationally pliant variant of coagulation factor Xa (FXa(I16L)) rendered partially inactive by a defect in the transition from zymogen to active protease. Using mouse models of hemophilia, we show that FXa(I16L) has a longer half-life than wild-type FXa and does not cause excessive activation of coagulation. Once clotting mechanisms are activated to produce its cofactor FVa, FXa(I16L) is driven to the protease state and restores hemostasis in hemophilic animals upon vascular injury. Moreover, using human or murine analogs, we show that FXa(I16L) is more efficacious than FVIIa, which is used to treat bleeding in hemophilia inhibitor patients. FXa(I16L) may provide an effective strategy to enhance blood clot formation and act as a rapid pan-hemostatic agent for the treatment of bleeding conditions.
    Nature Biotechnology 11/2011; 29(11):1028-33. · 32.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) is one of two known DGAT enzymes that catalyze the final step in triglyceride synthesis. Findings from genetically modified mice as well as pharmacological studies suggest that inhibition of DGAT1 is a promising strategy for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Here we characterize a tool DGAT1 inhibitor compound, T863. We found that T863 is a potent inhibitor for both human and mouse DGAT1 in vitro, which acts on the acyl-CoA binding site of DGAT1, and inhibits DGAT1-mediated triacylglycerol formation in cells. In an acute lipid challenge model, oral administration of T863 significantly delayed fat absorption and resulted in lipid accumulation in the distal small intestine of mice, mimicking the effects of genetic ablation of DGAT1. In diet-induced obese mice, oral administration of T863 for two weeks caused weight loss, reduction in serum and liver triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity. In addition to the expected triglyceride-lowering activity, T863 also lowered serum cholesterol. Hepatic IRS2 protein was dramatically upregulated in mice treated with T863, possibly contributing to improved insulin sensitivity. In differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, T863 enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, suggesting a possible role for adipocytes to improve insulin sensitivity upon DGAT1 inhibition. These results reveal novel mechanistic insights into the insulin-sensitizing effects of DGAT1 inhibition in mouse models. Taken together, our study provides a comprehensive evaluation of a small molecule inhibitor for DGAT1 and suggests that pharmacological inhibition of DGAT1 holds promise in treating diverse metabolic disorders.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2011; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear receptors involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. Three isoforms of PPARs have been identified with different tissue distribution and biological functions. Although the pharmacology of each receptor is well studied, the physiological effect of simultaneous activation of PPARalpha, gamma and delta is only starting to emerge. We sought to determine the biological effects of a novel PPAR pan activator and elucidate the physiological mechanisms involved. Ob/ob, diet-induced obese (DIO) or PPARalpha knockout mice were administered a novel agonist that activates all PPARs to various degrees to determine the effect on body weight, body composition, food intake and energy expenditure. In addition, serum parameters including glucose, insulin, triglycerides and ketone bodies as well as tissue acylcarnitine were evaluated. The effect of the novel agonist on liver and skeletal muscle histopathology was also studied. We report that simultaneous activation of all PPARs resulted in substantial weight loss in ob/ob and DIO mice. Consistent with known PPAR pharmacology, we observed that agonist treatment increased lipid oxidation, although appetite suppression was mainly responsible for the weight loss. Agonist-induced weight loss was completely absent in PPARalpha knockout mice suggesting that PPARalpha pharmacology was the major contributor to weight regulation in mice. Our work provides evidence that simultaneous activation of PPARalpha, gamma and delta decreases body weight by regulating appetite. These effects of the pan agonist were completely absent in PPARalpha knockout mice, suggesting that PPARalpha pharmacology was the major contributor to weight loss.
    Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism 03/2010; 12(3):234-45. · 5.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acyl-CoA:glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) catalyzes the first step during de novo synthesis of glycerolipids. Mammals have at least four GPAT isoforms. Here we report the further characterization of the two recently identified microsomal GPAT3 and GPAT4. Both enzymes are highly expressed in adipose tissues. However, while GPAT3 is highly (approximately 60-fold) induced during adipocyte differentiation, GPAT4 induction is only modest (approximately 5-fold), leading to a lower abundance of GPAT4 mRNA in adipocytes. While overexpression of GPAT3 and GPAT4 in either insect or mammalian cells results in a comparable increase of GPAT activity, shRNA-mediated knockdown of GPAT3, but not GPAT4, in 3T3-L1 adipocytes led to a significant decrease in GPAT activity, a profound inhibition of lipid accumulation, and a lack of expression of several adipogenic markers during adipocyte differentiation. These data suggest that GPAT3 may encode the major GPAT isoform in adipocytes and play an important role in adipogenesis. Furthermore, we have shown that both GPAT3 and GPAT4 are phosphorylated by insulin at Ser and Thr residues, leading to increased GPAT activity that is sensitive to wortmannin. Our results reveal a link between the lipogenic effects of insulin and microsomal GPAT3 and GPAT4, implying their importance in glycerolipid biosynthesis.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 02/2010; 51(7):1971-81. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cortisol and the glucocorticoid receptor signaling pathway have been implicated in the development of diabetes and obesity. The reduction of cortisone to cortisol is catalyzed by 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I (11beta-HSD1). 2,4-Disubsituted benzenesulfonamides were identified as potent inhibitors of both the human and mouse enzymes. The lead compounds displayed good pharmacokinetics and ex vivo inhibition of the target in mice. Cocrystal structures of compounds 1 and 20 bound to human 11beta-HSD1 were obtained. Compound 20 was found to achieve high concentrations in target tissues, resulting in 95% inhibition in the ex vivo assay when dosed with a food mix (0.5 mg of drug per g of food) after 4 days. Compound 20 was efficacious in a mouse diet-induced obesity model and significantly reduced fed glucose and fasted insulin levels. Our findings suggest that 11beta-HSD1 inhibition may be a valid target for the treatment of diabetes.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2009; 52(17):5449-61. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A growing percentage of the population is resistant to two key hormones - insulin and leptin - as a result of increased obesity, often leading to significant health consequences such as type 2 diabetes. Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) is a key negative regulator of signalling by both of these hormones, so that inhibitors of this enzyme may provide promise for correcting endocrine abnormalities in both diabetes and obesity. As with other tyrosine phosphatases, identification of viable drug candidates targeting PTP1B has been elusive because of the nature of its active site. Beginning with novel phosphotyrosine mimetics, we have designed some of the most potent PTP1B inhibitors. However, their highly acidic structures limit intrinsic permeability and pharmacokinetics. Ester prodrugs of these inhibitors improve their drug-like properties with the goal of delivering these nanomolar inhibitors to the cytoplasm of cells within target tissues. In addition to identifying prodrugs that is able to deliver active drugs into cells to inhibit PTP1B and increase insulin signalling, these compounds were further modified to gain a variety of cleavage properties for targeting activity in vivo. One such prodrug candidate improved insulin sensitivity in ob/ob mice, with lowered fasting blood glucose levels seen in the context of lowered fasting insulin levels following 4 days of intraperitoneal dosing. The results presented in this study highlight the potential for design of orally active drug candidates targeting PTP1B, while also delineating the considerable challenges remaining.
    Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism 04/2009; 11(6):579-88. · 5.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adipocyte-secreted proteins play important roles in metabolic regulation through autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine mechanisms. Using transcriptional profiling, we identified coiled-coil domain containing 80 (Ccdc80; also known as DRO1 and URB) as a novel secreted protein highly expressed in white adipose tissue. In 3T3-L1 cells Ccdc80 is expressed and secreted in a biphasic manner with high levels in postconfluent preadipocytes and terminally differentiated adipocytes. To determine whether Ccdc80 regulates adipocyte differentiation, Ccdc80 expression was manipulated using both knockdown and overexpression approaches. Small hairpin RNA-mediated silencing of Ccdc80 in 3T3-L1 cells inhibits adipocyte differentiation. This phenotype was partially reversed by treating the knockdown cells with Ccdc80-containing conditioned medium from differentiated 3T3-L1 cells. Molecular studies indicate that Ccdc80 is required for the full inhibition of T-cell factor-mediated transcriptional activity, down-regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin target genes during clonal expansion, and the subsequent induction of C/EBPalpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Surprisingly, overexpression of Ccdc80 in 3T3-L1 cells also inhibits adipocyte differentiation without affecting the repression of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. Taken together, these data suggest that Ccdc80 plays dual roles in adipogenesis by mechanisms that involve at least in part down-regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and induction of C/EBPalpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2009; 284(12):8136-47. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a search for more effective anti-diabetic treatment, we used a process coupling low-affinity biochemical screening with high-throughput co-crystallography in the design of a series of compounds that selectively modulate the activities of all three peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), PPARalpha, PPARgamma, and PPARdelta. Transcriptional transactivation assays were used to select compounds from this chemical series with a bias toward partial agonism toward PPARgamma, to circumvent the clinically observed side effects of full PPARgamma agonists. Co-crystallographic characterization of the lead molecule, indeglitazar, in complex with each of the 3 PPARs revealed the structural basis for its PPAR pan-activity and its partial agonistic response toward PPARgamma. Compared with full PPARgamma-agonists, indeglitazar is less potent in promoting adipocyte differentiation and only partially effective in stimulating adiponectin gene expression. Evaluation of the compound in vivo confirmed the reduced adiponectin response in animal models of obesity and diabetes while revealing strong beneficial effects on glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, body weight, and other metabolic parameters. Indeglitazar has now progressed to Phase II clinical evaluations for Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2009; 106(1):262-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue specific amplification of glucocorticoid action through NADPH-dependent reduction of inactive glucocorticoid precursors by 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11beta-HSD1) contributes to the development of visceral obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH) is believed to supply NADPH for the reductase activity of 11beta-HSD1 in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the two enzymes are co-localized. We report here expression and purification of full-length and truncated N-terminal domain (NTD) of H6PDH in a mammalian expression system. Interestingly, both full-length H6PDH and the truncated NTD are secreted into the culture medium in the absence of 11beta-HSD1. Purified full-length H6PDH is a bi-functional enzyme with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) activity as well as 6-phosphogluconolactonase (6PGL) activity. Using co-immunoprecipitation experiments with purified H6PDH and 11beta-HSD1, and with cell lysates expressing H6PDH and 11beta-HSD1, we observe direct physical interaction between the two enzymes. We also show the modulation of 11beta-HSD1 directionality by H6PDH using overexpression and siRNA knockdown systems. The NTD retains the ability to interact with 11beta-HSD1 physically as well as modulate 11beta-HSD1 directionality indicating that the NTD of H6PDH is sufficient for the regulation of the 11beta-HSD1 activity.
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 01/2009; 483(1):45-54. · 3.37 Impact Factor
  • ChemMedChem 10/2008; 3(10):1525-9. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acyl-CoA-dependent lysophospholipid acyltransferases play an important role in attaining the appropriate molecular species of phospholipids. A number of genes encoding these activities were recently identified. It has become clear that multiple genes can encode one enzymatic activity and that a given gene may encode multiple activities. Here we report the identification of a gene encoding a mammalian acyl-CoA-dependent lysophospholipid acyltransferase with prominent activity toward ethanolamine-containing lysophospholipids, which we termed acyl-CoA:lysophosphatidylethanolamine acyltransferase 2, LPEAT2 (previously annotated as AYTL3 or AGPAT7). LPEAT2 is predominantly expressed in brain, coinciding with an enrichment of phosphatidylethanolamine in this tissue. Ectopic expression of LPEAT2 in mammalian HEK293T cells led to a dramatic increase (up to 9-fold) in LPEAT activity when compared with cells transfected with empty vector or an unrelated acyltransferase. LPEAT2 also exhibited significant acyl-CoA-dependent acyltransferase activity toward 1-O-alkenyl-lysophosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylglycerol, 1-O-alkyl-lysophosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylserine, and lysophosphatidylcholine but lacked appreciable acylating activity toward glycerol 3-phosphate, lysophosphatidic acid, lysophosphatidylinositol, and diacylglycerol, demonstrating multiple but selective functions of LPEAT2 as an enzyme involved in phospholipid remodeling. LPEAT2 recognizes a broad range of medium and long chain fatty acyl-CoA, and its activity was not affected by Ca(2+). When overexpressed in mammalian cells, LPEAT2 is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. siRNA-mediated knockdown of LPEAT2 in HEK293T cells significantly decreased LPEAT and 1-alkenyl-LPEAT activities but did not affect other lysophospholipid acylating activities. These findings identify LPEAT2 as an important enzyme in the biosynthesis of ethanolamine-containing phospholipids, especially in brain.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2008; 283(27):19049-57. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) is the enzyme that converts cortisone to cortisol. Evidence suggests that selective inhibition of 11β-HSD1 could treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Presented herein are the synthesis, structure−activity relationship, and in vivo evaluation of piperazine sulfonamides as 11β-HSD1 inhibitors. Through modification of our initial lead 5a, we have identified potent and selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitors such as 13q and 13u with good pharmacokinetic properties.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2008; 51(14). · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myostatin, a member of the TGF-beta superfamily, is produced by skeletal muscle and acts as a negative regulator of muscle mass. It has also been suggested that low-dose administration of myostatin (2 mug/day) in rodents can reduce fat mass without altering muscle mass. In the current study, we attempted to further explore the effects of myostatin on adipocytes and its potential to reduce fat mass, since myostatin administration could potentially be a useful strategy to treat obesity and its complications in humans. Purified myostatin protein was examined for its effects on adipogenesis and lipolysis in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes as well as for effects on fat mass in wild-type, myostatin null and obese mice. While myostatin was capable of inhibiting adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells, it did not alter lipolysis in fully differentiated adipocytes. Importantly, pharmacological administration of myostatin over a range of doses (2-120 mug/day) did not affect fat mass in wild-type or genetically obese (ob/ob, db/db) mice, although muscle mass was significantly reduced at the highest myostatin dose. Our results suggest that myostatin does not reduce adipose stores in adult animals. Contrary to prior indications, pharmacological administration of myostatin does not appear to be an effective strategy to treat obesity in vivo.
    Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism 03/2008; 10(2):135-42. · 5.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of obesity in the USA and worldwide has reached epidemic proportions during the last two decades. Drugs currently available for the treatment of obesity provide no more than 5% placebo-adjusted weight loss and are associated with undesirable side effects. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) modulators offer potential benefits for the treatment of obesity and its associated complications but their development has been complicated by biological, technical, and regulatory challenges. Despite significant challenges, PPAR modulators are attractive targets for the treatment of obesity and could offer a viable alternative to the millions of patients who fail to lose weight following rigorous dieting and exercise protocols. In addition, PPAR modulators have the potential-added benefit of ameliorating the associated comorbidities.
    PPAR Research 02/2008; 2008:125387. · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) is a negative regulator of the insulin and leptin receptor pathways and thus an attractive therapeutic target for diabetes and obesity. Starting with a high micromolar lead compound, structure-based optimization of novel PTP1B inhibitors by extension of the molecule from the enzyme active site into the second phosphotyrosine binding site is described. Medicinal chemistry, guided by X-ray complex structure and molecular modeling, has yielded low nanomolar PTP1B inhibitors in an efficient manner. Compounds from this chemical series were found to be actively transported into hepatocytes. This active uptake into target tissues could be one of the possible avenues to overcome the poor membrane permeability of PTP1B inhibitors.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2007; 50(19):4681-98. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of beta-keto sulfones as 11beta-HSD1 inhibitors and the mechanism of inhibition are described here. This class of compounds is not active against 11beta-HSD2 and therefore may have therapeutic potential for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 08/2007; 15(13):4396-405. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Considerable effort exists within drug discovery to develop novel compounds to improve the underlying metabolic defects in type 2 diabetes. One approach is focused on inhibition of the tyrosine phosphatase, PTP1B, an important negative regulator of both insulin and leptin signaling. Historically, tyrosine phosphatase assays have used either small organic phosphates or, alternatively, phosphorylated peptides from the target proteins themselves. In characterizing inhibitors of PTP1B, measuring turnover of small organic phosphates is limited to evaluation of compounds that bind the active site itself. Peptide substrates allow identification of additional subsets of inhibitors (e.g., those that bind the second aryl-phosphate site), but assays of peptide turnover often involve detection steps that then limit full kinetic evaluation of inhibitors. Here we use a polyclonal antibody specific for the phosphorylated insulin receptor to allow much more sensitive detection of peptide phosphorylation. This kinetically robust enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) gives k(cat) and K(m) values for a phosphorylated insulin receptor peptide consistent with values determined by a continuous fluorescence-based assay. Furthermore, IC50 values determined for well-behaved active site inhibitors agree well with values determined for p-nitrophenyl phosphate cleavage. This assay permits full characterization of a larger subset of inhibitors as drug candidates for this promising target.
    Analytical Biochemistry 07/2007; 365(2):174-84. · 2.58 Impact Factor