The following members of the ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase family, NTPDase1 (CD39), NTPDase-2, -3, and -8, play an important role in purinergic signal transduction by regulating extracellular nucleotide levels. Potent and selective NTPDase inhibitors are required as pharmacological tools and have potential as novel drugs, e.g. for anti-cancer and anti-bacterial therapy. We have developed fast and sensitive NTPDase fluorescence polarization (FP) immunoassays using the natural substrates (ATP or ADP). During the NTPDase1-catalyzed reaction, the substrate is dephosphorylated to ADP which is further dephosphorylated yielding AMP as the final product (by NTPDase1). NTPDase3 and -8 yield AMP and ADP, while NTPDase2 results mainly in the formation of ADP. Direct quantification of the respective product, AMP or ADP, is achieved by displacement of an appropriate fluorescent tracer nucleotide from a specific antibody leading to a change in fluorescence polarization. The assays are highly sensitive and can be performed with low substrate concentrations (20 μM ATP or 10 μM ADP) below the KM values of NTPDases, which simplifies the identification of novel competitive inhibitors. Optimized antibody and enzyme concentrations allow the reproducible detection of 2 μM ADP and 1 μM AMP (at 10% substrate conversion). Validation of the assays yielded excellent Z′-factors greater than 0.70 for all investigated NTPDase subtypes indicating high robustness of the analytical method. Furthermore, we tested a standard inhibitor and performed a first exemplary screening campaign with a library consisting of >400 compounds (Z′-factor: 0.87, hit rate 0.5%). Thereby we demonstrated the suitability of the FP assay for IC50 value determination and high-throughput screening in a 384-well format. The new FP assays were shown to be superior to current standard assays.
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