Scientific reports

Identification of ER-000444793, a Cyclophilin D-independent inhibitor of mitochondrial permeability transition, using a high-throughput screen in cryopreserved mitochondria.

PMID 27886240


Growing evidence suggests persistent mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening is a key pathophysiological event in cell death underlying a variety of diseases. While it has long been clear the mPTP is a druggable target, current agents are limited by off-target effects and low therapeutic efficacy. Therefore identification and development of novel inhibitors is necessary. To rapidly screen large compound libraries for novel mPTP modulators, a method was exploited to cryopreserve large batches of functionally active mitochondria from cells and tissues. The cryopreserved mitochondria maintained respiratory coupling and ATP synthesis, Ca(2+) uptake and transmembrane potential. A high-throughput screen (HTS), using an assay of Ca(2+)-induced mitochondrial swelling in the cryopreserved mitochondria identified ER-000444793, a potent inhibitor of mPTP opening. Further evaluation using assays of Ca(2+)-induced membrane depolarisation and Ca(2+) retention capacity also indicated that ER-000444793 acted as an inhibitor of the mPTP. ER-000444793 neither affected cyclophilin D (CypD) enzymatic activity, nor displaced of CsA from CypD protein, suggesting a mechanism independent of CypD inhibition. Here we identified a novel, CypD-independent inhibitor of the mPTP. The screening approach and compound described provides a workflow and additional tool to aid the search for novel mPTP modulators and to help understand its molecular nature.