RESEARCH ARTICLE


Comparison on Functional Assays for Gq-Coupled GPCRs by Measuring Inositol Monophospate-1 and Intracellular Calcium in 1536-Well Plate Format



Ke Liu#, Steve Titus#, Noel Southall, Pingjun Zhu, James Inglese, Christopher P Austin, Wei Zheng*
NIH Chemical Genomics Center, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-3370, USA


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© Liu et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/), which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA; E-mail: wzheng@mail.nih.gov
# There authors contributed equally to this work.


Abstract

Cell-based functional assays used for compound screening and lead optimization play an important role in drug discovery for G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Cell-based assays can define the role of a compound as an agonist, antagonist or inverse agonist and can provide detailed information about the potency and efficacy of a compound. In addition, cell-based screens can be used to identify allosteric modulators that interact with sites other than the binding site of the endogenous ligand. Intracellular calcium assays which use a fluorescent calcium binding dye (such as Fluo-3, Fluo-4 or Fura-2) have been used in compound screening campaigns to measure the activity of Gq-coupled GPCRs. However, such screening methodologies require a special instrumentation to record the rapid change in intracellular free calcium concentration over time. The radioactive inositol 1,4,5- triphosphate (IP3) assay measures 3H-inositol incorporation and is another traditional assay for the assessment of Gq-coupled GPCR activity, but it is not suitable for screening of large size compound collections because it requires a cell wash step and generates radioactive waste. To avoid these limitations, we have optimized and miniaturized a TR-FRET based IP-One assay that measures inositol monophosphate in a 1536-well plate format. This assay is homogenous, non-radioactive and does not require a kinetic readout. It has been tested with the cell lines expressing M1 acetylcholine, FFAR1, vasopressin V1b, or Neuropeptide S receptors. The activities of antagonists determined in the IP-One assay correlated well with these measured in the intracellular calcium assay while the correlation of agonist activities might vary from cell line to cell line. This IP-One assay offers an alternative method for high throughput screening of Gq-coupled GPCRs without using costly kinetic plate readers.