High-Throughput Cellular Thermal Shift Assays in Research and Drug Discovery.


Thermal shift assays (TSAs) can reveal changes in protein structure, due to a resultant change in protein thermal stability. Since proteins are often stabilized upon binding of ligand molecules, these assays can provide a readout for protein target engagement. TSA has traditionally been applied using purified proteins and more recently has been extended to study target engagement in cellular environments with the emergence of cellular thermal shift assays (CETSAs). The utility of CETSA in confirming molecular interaction with targets in a more native context, and the desire to apply this technique more broadly, has fueled the emergence of higher-throughput techniques for CETSA (HT-CETSA). Recent studies have demonstrated that HT-CETSA can be performed in standard 96-, 384-, and 1536-well microtiter plate formats using methods such as beta-galactosidase and NanoLuciferase reporters and AlphaLISA assays. HT-CETSA methods can be used to select and characterize compounds from high-throughput screens and to prioritize compounds in lead optimization by facilitating dose-response experiments. In conjunction with cellular and biochemical activity assays for targets, HT-CETSA can be a valuable addition to the suite of assays available to characterize molecules of interest. Despite the successes in implementing HT-CETSA for a diverse set of targets, caveats and challenges must also be recognized to avoid overinterpretation of results. Here, we review the current landscape of HT-CETSA and discuss the methodologies, practical considerations, challenges, and applications of this approach in research and drug discovery. Additionally, a perspective on potential future directions for the technology is presented.


Henderson, Mark; Holbert, Marc A; Simeonov, Anton; Kallal, Lorena A;

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