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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2012 Jun;10(3):260-8. doi: 10.1089/adt.2011.0409. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

High-throughput screening for RecA inhibitors using a transcreener adenosine 5'-O-diphosphate assay.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7568, USA.


The activities of the bacterial RecA protein are involved in the de novo development and transmission of antibiotic resistance genes, thus allowing bacteria to overcome the metabolic stress induced by antibacterial agents. RecA is ubiquitous and highly conserved among bacteria, but has only distant homologs in human cells. Together, this evidence points to RecA as a novel and attractive antibacterial drug target. All known RecA functions require the formation of a complex formed by multiple adenosine 5'-O-triphosphate (ATP)-bound RecA monomers on single-stranded DNA. In this complex, RecA hydrolyzes ATP. Although several methods for assessing RecA's ATPase activity have been reported, these assay conditions included relatively high concentrations of enzyme and ATP and thereby restricted the RecA conformational state. Herein, we describe the validation of commercial reagents (Transcreener(®) adenosine 5'-O-diphosphate [ADP](2) fluorescence polarization assay) for the high-throughput measurement of RecA's ATPase activity with lower concentrations of ATP and RecA. Under optimized conditions, ADP detection by the Transcreener reagent provided robust and reproducible activity data (Z'=0.92). Using the Transcreener assay, we screened 113,477 small molecules against purified RecA protein. In total, 177 small molecules were identified as confirmed hits, of which 79 were characterized by IC(50) values ≤ 10 μM and 35 were active in bioassays with live bacteria. This set of compounds comprises previously unidentified scaffolds for RecA inhibition and represents tractable hit structures for efforts aimed at tuning RecA inhibitory activity in both biochemical and bacteriological assays.

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