Automated High-Content Screening for Compounds That Disassemble the Perinucleolar Compartment

John T. Norton, Steven A. Titus, Dwayne Dexter, Christopher P. Austin, Wei Zheng, Sui Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

All solid malignancies share characteristic traits, including unlimited cellular proliferation, evasion of immune regulation, and the propensity to metastasize. The authors have previously described that a subnuclear structure, the perinucleolar compartment (PNC), is associated with the metastatic phenotype in solid tumor cancer cells. The percentage of cancer cells that contain PNCs (PNC prevalence) is indicative of the malignancy of a tumor both in vitro and in vivo, and thus PNC prevalence is a marker that reflects metastatic capability in a population of tumor cells. Although the function of the PNC remains to be determined, the PNC is highly enriched with small RNAs and RNA binding proteins. The initial chemical biology studies using a set of anticancer drugs that disassemble PNCs revealed a direct association of the structure with DNA. Therefore, PNC prevalence reduction as a phenotypic marker can be used to identify compounds that target cellular processes required for PNC maintenance and hence used to elucidate the nature of the PNC function. Here the authors report the development of an automated high-content screening assay that is capable of detecting PNC prevalence in prostate cancer cells (PC-3M) stably expressing a green fluorescent protein (GFP)–fusion protein that localizes to the PNC. The assay was optimized using known PNC-reducing drugs and non-PNC-reducing cytotoxic drugs. After optimization, the fidelity of the assay was probed with a collection of 8284 compounds and was shown to be robust and capable of detecting known and novel PNC-reducing compounds, making it the first reported high-content phenotypic screen for small changes in nuclear structure. (Journal of Biomolecular Screening 2009:1045-1053).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1053
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • cancer
  • high-content screening
  • nucleus
  • perinucleolar compartment
  • small molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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