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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2005 Jun;3(3):261-71.

Inflammatory pathway analysis using a high content screening platform.

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Department of Biological Sciences, AstraZeneca R&D, Lund, Sweden.


High content cellular screening assays are useful tools to investigate the interplay between signaling pathways and offer valuable platforms to determine the mode of action, potency, and selectivity of potential drug candidates in a biological setting. We describe a cell-based multiplex fluorescent imaging assay that permits concurrent detection and quantification of the distribution of nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB) p65/RelA and phosphorylated forms of p38 and c-Jun between the cytosol and nucleus. Cellular screening, data acquisition, and data interpretation were conducted on the ArrayScan HCS Reader (Cellomics Inc., Pittsburgh, PA). A significant window between untreated and interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha) stimulated HeLa cells for all three targets was achieved with low variability. Staining specificity was confirmed with blocking peptides and pharmacological inhibition of p38, c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), and inhibitory kappaB kinase 2, and channel bleed-through was eliminated or counterbalanced by the use of fixed exposure times together with careful reporter channel selection. The JNK inhibitor SP600125 was used as a demonstration compound because in addition to inhibiting nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated c-Jun it reduced nuclear translocation of phosphorylated p38 and NFkappaB p65/RelA in a dose-dependent manner, indicating a lack of SP600125 selectivity. This was supported by RNA interference where co-transfection of small interfering RNA targeting both JNK1 and JNK2, to limit signaling redundancy, significantly inhibited IL-1alpha-stimulated translocation of phosphorylated c-Jun without altering phosphorylated p38 and NFkappaB p65/RelA redistribution. This image analysis application is a valuable and information-rich screening tool to investigate compound selectivity and/or cross-talk between key signaling pathways involved in the inflammatory response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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