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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2005 Jun;3(3):309-18.

Generation of cell lines for drug discovery through random activation of gene expression: application to the human histamine H3 receptor.

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Athersys, Inc., Cleveland, OH 44115, USA.


Target-based high-throughput screening (HTS) plays an integral role in drug discovery. The implementation of HTS assays generally requires high expression levels of the target protein, and this is typically accomplished using recombinant cDNA methodologies. However, the isolated gene sequences to many drug targets have intellectual property claims that restrict the ability to implement drug discovery programs. The present study describes the pharmacological characterization of the human histamine H3 receptor that was expressed using random activation of gene expression (RAGE), a technology that over-expresses proteins by up-regulating endogenous genes rather than introducing cDNA expression vectors into the cell. Saturation binding analysis using [125I]iodoproxyfan and RAGE-H3 membranes revealed a single class of binding sites with a K(D) value of 0.77 nM and a B(max) equal to 756 fmol/mg of protein. Competition binding studies showed that the rank order of potency for H3 agonists was N(alpha)-methylhistamine approximately (R)-alpha- methylhistamine > histamine and that the rank order of potency for H3 antagonists was clobenpropit > iodophenpropit > thioperamide. The same rank order of potency for H3 agonists and antagonists was observed in the functional assays as in the binding assays. The Fluorometic Imaging Plate Reader assays in RAGE-H3 cells gave high Z' values for agonist and antagonist screening, respectively. These results reveal that the human H3 receptor expressed with the RAGE technology is pharmacologically comparable to that expressed through recombinant methods. Moreover, the level of expression of the H3 receptor in the RAGE-H3 cells is suitable for HTS and secondary assays.

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