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J Biomol Screen. 2005 Mar;10(2):149-56.

Development of a microplate-based scintillation proximity assay for MraY using a modified substrate.

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AstraZeneca India Pvt. Ltd., Bellary Road, Hebbal, Bangalore, India.


MraY is an established target for the discovery of antibacterial agents. The conventional assay for MraY uses radioactive substrate and analysis of products after paper chromatography or butanol extraction. Synthesis of radiolabeled substrate has been done in vitro using purified enzymes or by growing cells on radiolabeled precursors. The authors report a simple and rapid method to chemically radiolabel MraY substrate, UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide. Specific activity obtained by this method was more than 100 times higher than the conventionally labeled substrate, and yields are high enough to support the requirements of high-throughput screening (HTS). The authors have developed a microplate-based homogeneous assay for MraY in which the product is captured on wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) scintillation proximity assay (SPA) beads. The assay was validated by showing inhibition by specific inhibitors of MraY but not by inhibitors of other enzymes of peptidoglycan synthesis. The assay uses wild-type membranes of Escherichia coli, giving it an advantage over recently described assays that need the protein to be overexpressed. In addition, it has an advantage over the high-throughput MraY-MurG coupled assay reported in the literature because it is MraY specific, and therefore hits obtained in this assay do not need further deconvolution. It has potential for use in HTS approaches to find novel inhibitors of MraY.

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