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#24927133   2014/06/14 Save this To Up

A sensitive luminescent assay for the histone methyltransferase NSD1 and other SAM-dependent enzymes.

A major focus of our pediatric cancer research is the discovery of chemical probes to further our understanding of the biology of leukemia harboring fusion proteins arising from chromosomal rearrangements, and to develop novel specifically targeted therapies. The NUP98-NSD1 fusion protein occurs in a highly aggressive subtype of acute myeloid leukemia after rearrangement of the genes NUP98 and NSD1. The methyltransferase activity of NSD1 is retained in the fusion, and it gives rise to abnormally high levels of methylation at lysine 36 on histone 3, enforcing oncogene activation. Therefore, inhibition of the methyltransferase activity of NUP98-NSD1 may be considered a viable therapeutic strategy. Here, we report the development and validation of a highly sensitive and robust luminescence-based assay for NSD1 and other methyltransferases that use S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a methyl donor. The assay quantifies S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), which is produced during methyl transfer from SAM. SAH is converted enzymatically to adenosine monophosphate (AMP); in the process, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is consumed and the amount of ATP remaining is measured using a luminescent assay kit. The assay was validated by pilot high-throughput screening (HTS), dose-response confirmation of hits, and elimination of artifacts through counterscreening against SAH detection in the absence of NSD1. The known methyltransferase inhibitor suramin was identified, and profiled for selectivity against the histone methyltransferases EZH2, SETD7, and PRMT1. HTS using the luminescent NSD1 assay described here has the potential to deliver selective NSD1 inhibitors that may serve as leads in the development of targeted therapies for NUP98-NSD1-driven leukemias.

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