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Anal Chem. 2013 Jul 16;85(14):6756-66. doi: 10.1021/ac400715t. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Fragment screening by weak affinity chromatography: comparison with established techniques for screening against HSP90.

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Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden.


The increasing use of fragment-based lead discovery (FBLD) in industry as well as in academia creates a high demand for sensitive and reliable methods to detect the binding of fragments to act as starting points in drug discovery programs. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and X-ray crystallography are well-established methods for fragment finding, and thermal shift and fluorescence polarization (FP) assays are used to a lesser extent. Weak affinity chromatography (WAC) was recently introduced as a new technology for fragment screening. The study presented here compares screening of 111 fragments against the ATPase domain of HSP90 by all of these methods, with isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) used to confirm the most potent hits. The study demonstrates that WAC is comparable to the established methods of ligand-based NMR and SPR as a hit-id method, with hit correlations of 88% and 83%, respectively. The stability of HSP90 WAC columns was also evaluated and found to give 90% reproducibility even after 207 days of storage. A good correlation was obtained between the various technologies, validating WAC as an effective technology for fragment screening.

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