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Epigenetic assays for chemical biology and drug discovery

: Gul, S.

Volltext (PDF; )

Clinical epigenetics 9 (2017), Art. 41, 19 S.
ISSN: 1868-7083
ISSN: 1868-7075
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IME ()

The implication of epigenetic abnormalities in many diseases and the approval of a number of compounds that modulate specific epigenetic targets in a therapeutically relevant manner in cancer specifically confirms that some of these targets are druggable by small molecules. Furthermore, a number of compounds are currently in clinical trials for other diseases including cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic disorders. Despite these advances, the approved treatments for cancer only extend progression-free survival for a relatively short time and being associated with significant side effects. The current clinical trials involving the next generation of epigenetic drugs may address the disadvantages of the currently approved epigenetic drugs. The identification of chemical starting points of many drugs often makes use of screening in vitro assays against libraries of synthetic or natural products. These assays can be biochemical (using purified protein) or cell-based (using for example, genetically modified, cancer cell lines or primary cells) and performed in microtiter plates, thus enabling a large number of samples to be tested. A considerable number of such assays are available to monitor epigenetic target activity, and this review provides an overview of drug discovery and chemical biology and describes assays that monitor activities of histone deacetylase, lysine-specific demethylase, histone methyltransferase, histone acetyltransferase and bromodomain. It is of critical importance that an appropriate assay is developed and comprehensively validated for a given drug target prior to screening in order to improve the probability of the compound progressing in the drug discovery value chain.