Article

An in vitro Förster resonance energy transfer-based high-throughput screening assay identifies inhibitors of SUMOylation E2 Ubc9

Authors: Yu-zhe Wang1,2, Xiao Liu3, George Way4, Vipul Madarha4, Qing-tong Zhou5, De-hua Yang1, Jia-yu Liao4, Ming-wei Wang1,2,3
1 The National Center for Drug Screening and the CAS Key Laboratory of Receptor Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shanghai 201203, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
4 Department of Bioengineering, Bourns College of Engineering, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
5 iHuman Institute, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China
Correspondence to: De-hua Yang: dhyang@simm.ac.cn, Jia-yu Liao: jliao@engr.ucr.edu, Ming-wei Wang: mwwang@simm.ac.cn,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-020-0405-7
Received: 20 December 2019
Accepted: 20 March 2020
Advance online: 27 April 2020

Abstract

SUMOylation is one of the posttranslational modifications that mediate cellular activities such as transcription, DNA repair, and signal transduction and is involved in the cell cycle. However, only a limited number of small molecule inhibitors have been identified to study its role in cellular processes. Here, we report a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) high-throughput screening assay based on the interaction between E2 Ubc9 and E3 PIAS1. Of the 3200 compounds screened, 34 (1.1%) showed higher than 50% inhibition and 4 displayed dose–response inhibitory effects. By combining this method with a label-free surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assay, false positives were excluded leading to discovering WNN0605-F008 and WNN1062-D002 that bound to Ubc9 with KD values of 1.93 ± 0.62 and 5.24 ± 3.73 μM, respectively. We examined the effect of the two compounds on SUMO2-mediated SUMOylation of RanGAP1, only WNN0605-F008 significantly inhibited RanGAP1 SUMOylation, whereas WNN1062-D002 did not show any inhibition. These compounds, with novel chemical scaffolds, may serve as the initial material for developing new SUMOylation inhibitors.
Keywords: SUMOylation inhibitor; WNN0605-F008; high-throughput screening; Ubc9; PIAS1; Förster resonance energy transfer; surface plasmon resonance

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