Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a complex disease with multiple etiologic factors. PDLIM5, a member of the Enigma subfamily of PDZ and LIM domain protein family, contains an N-terminal PDZ domain and three LIM domains at its C-terminus. We have previously shown that overexpression of PDLIM5 prevents hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH), and deletion of PDLIM5 in smooth muscle cells enhances hypoxia-induced PH in vivo. These results suggest that PDLIM5 may be a novel therapeutic target of PH. In this study, we aim to establish a high-throughput screening platform for PDLIM5-targeted drug discovery. We generated a stable mink lung epithelial cell line (MLEC) containing a transforming growth factor-β/Smad luciferase reporter with lentivirus-mediated suppression of PDLIM5 (MLEC-shPDLIM5) and measured levels of Smad2/3 and pSmad2/3. We found that in MLEC, suppression of PDLIM5 decreased Smad-dependent luciferase activity, Smad3, and pSmad3. We used MLEC-shPDLIM5 and a control cell line (MLEC-shCTL) to screen the Prestwick library (1200 compounds) and identified and validated paclitaxel as a PDLIM5 inhibitor in MLEC. Furthermore, we showed that paclitaxel inhibited Smad2 expression and Smad3 phosphorylation in A549 cells. Our study suggests that this system is robust and suitable for PDLIM5-targeted drug discovery.
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