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Curr Chem Genom Transl Med. 2014 Feb 7;8(Suppl 1):16-26. doi: 10.2174/2213988501408010016. eCollection 2014.

Establishing a High-content Analysis Method for Tubulin Polymerization to Evaluate Both the Stabilizing and Destabilizing Activities of Compounds.

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Lead Discovery and Optimization, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA.


Microtubules are important components of the cellular cytoskeleton that play roles in various cellular processes such as vesicular transport and spindle formation during mitosis. They are formed by an ordered organization of α-tubulin and β-tubulin hetero-polymers. Altering microtubule polymerization has been known to be the mechanism of action for a number of therapeutically important drugs including taxanes and epothilones. Traditional cell-based assays for tubulin-interacting compounds rely on their indirect effects on cell cycle and/or cell proliferation. Direct monitoring of compound effects on microtubules is required to dissect detailed mechanisms of action in a cellular setting. Here we report a high-content assay platform to monitor tubulin polymerization status by directly measuring the acute effects of drug candidates on the cellular tubulin network with the capability to dissect the mechanisms of action. This high-content analysis distinguishes in a quantitative manner between compounds that act as tubulin stabilizers versus those that are tubulin destabilizers. In addition, using a multiplex approach, we expanded this analysis to simultaneously monitor physiological cellular responses and associated cellular phenotypes.


High-content analysis; destabilizer.; microtubule polymerization; tubulin stabilizer

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