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J Biomol Screen. 2011 Oct;16(9):1089-97. doi: 10.1177/1087057111417712. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

A continuous, fluorescent, high-throughput assay for human dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1.

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  • 1Graduate Program in Biochemistry, University of Texas, Austin, USA.


Inhibitors of human dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH-1) are of therapeutic interest for controlling pathological nitric oxide production. Only a limited number of biologically useful inhibitors have been identified, so structurally diverse lead compounds are desired. In contrast with previous assays that do not possess adequate sensitivity for optimal screening, herein is reported a high-throughput assay that uses an alternative thiol-releasing substrate, S-methyl-L-thiocitrulline, and a thiol-reactive fluorophore, 7-diethylamino-3-(4'-maleimidylphenyl)-4-methylcoumarin, to enable continuous detection of product formation by DDAH-1. The assay is applied to query two commercial libraries totaling 4446 compounds, and two representative hits are described, including a known DDAH-1 inhibitor. This is the most sensitive DDAH-1 assay reported to date and enables screening of compound libraries using [S] = K (M) conditions while displaying Z' factors from 0.6 to 0.8. Therefore, this strategy now makes possible high-throughput screening for human DDAH-1 inhibitors in pursuit of molecular probes and drugs to control excessive nitric oxide production.

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