Author(s): Wahome PG, Bai Y, Neal LM, Robertus JD, Mantis NJ
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Abstract The Category B agents, ricin and shiga toxin (Stx), are RNA N-glycosidases that target a highly conserved adenine residue within the sarcin-ricin loop of eukaryotic 28S ribosomal RNA. In an effort to identify small-molecule inhibitors of these toxins that could serve as lead compounds for potential therapeutics, we have developed a simple Vero cell-based high-throughput cytotoxicity assay and have used it to screen approximately 81,300 compounds in 17 commercially available chemical libraries. This initial screen identified approximately 300 compounds with weak (>or=30 to <50\%), moderate (>or=50 to <80\%), or strong (>or=80\%) ricin inhibitory activity. Secondary analysis of 244 of these original "hits" was performed, and 20 compounds that were capable of reducing ricin cytotoxicity by >50\% were chosen for further study. Four compounds demonstrated significant dose-dependent ricin inhibitory activity in the Vero cell-based assay, with 50\% effective inhibitory concentration (EC(50)) values ranging from 25 to 60microM. The same 20 compounds were tested in parallel for the ability to inhibit ricin's and Stx1's enzymatic activities in an in vitro translation reaction. Three of the 20 compounds, including the most effective compound in the cell-based assay, had discernible anti-toxin activity. One compound in particular, 4-fluorophenyl methyl 2-(furan-2-yl)quinoline-4-carboxylate ("compound 8"), had 50\% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of 30microM, a value indicating >10-fold higher potency than is the case for previously described ricin-Stx1 inhibitors. Computer modeling predicted that compound 8 is capable of docking within the ricin active site. In conclusion, we have used a simple high-throughput cell-based method to identify several new small-molecule inhibitors of ricin and Stx. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Toxicon
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense