Malaria journal

Development of two novel high-throughput assays to quantify ubiquitylated proteins in cell lysates: application to screening of new anti-malarials.

PMID 25968882


The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is one of the main proteolytical pathways in eukaryotic cells and plays an essential role in key cellular processes such as cell cycle, stress response, signal transduction, and transcriptional regulation. Many components of this pathway have been implicated in diverse pathologies including cancer, neurodegeneration and infectious diseases, such as malaria. The success of proteasome inhibitors in clinical trials underlines the potential of the UPS in drug discovery. Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria causative pathogen, has been used to develop two assays that allow the quantification of the parasite protein ubiquitylation levels in a high-throughput format that can be used to find new UPS inhibitors. In both assays tandem ubiquitin binding entities (TUBEs), also known as ubiquitin traps, have been used to capture ubiquitylated proteins from cell lysates. The primary assay is based on AlphaLISA technology, and the orthogonal secondary assay relies on a dissociation-enhanced lanthanide fluorescent immunoassay (DELFIA) system. A panel of well-known proteasome inhibitors has been used to validate both technologies. An excellent correlation was obtained between these biochemical assays and the standard whole cell assay that measures parasite growth inhibition. The two assays presented can be used in a high-throughput format to find new UPS inhibitors for P. falciparum and could help to identify new targets within this system. This methodology is also applicable to other cellular contexts or pathologies.

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