Utilization of an In Vivo Reporter for High Throughput Identification of Branched Small Molecule Regulators of Hypoxic Adaptation
High-Throughput Screening Assays
Small molecules inhibiting hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs) are the focus of drug development efforts directed toward the treatment of ischemia and metabolic imbalance. A cell-based reporter produced by fusing HIF-1 alpha oxygen degradable domain (ODD) to luciferase was shown to work as a capture assay monitoring stability of the overexpressed luciferase-labeled HIF PHD substrate under conditions more physiological than in vitro test tubes. High throughput screening identified novel catechol and oxyquinoline pharmacophores with a "branching motif" immediately adjacent to a Fe-binding motif that fits selectively into the HIF PHD active site in in silico models. In accord with their structure-activity relationship in the primary screen, the best "hits" stabilize HIF1 alpha, upregulate known HIF target genes in a human neuronal line, and exert neuroprotective effects in established model of oxidative stress in cortical neurons.