Background: A newly identified mechanism of smooth muscle relaxation is the interaction between the small heat shock protein 20 (HSP20) and 14-3-3 proteins. Focusing upon this class of interactions, we describe here a novel drug target screening approach for treating airflow obstruction in asthma.Methods: Using a high-throughput fluorescence polarization (FP) assay, we screened a library of compounds that could act as small molecule modulators of HSP20 signals. We then applied two quantitative, cell-based biophysical methods to assess the functional efficacy of these molecules and rank-ordered their abilities to relax isolated human airway smooth muscle (ASM). Scaling up to the level of an intact tissue, we confirmed in a concentration-responsive manner the potency of the cell-based hit compounds.Results: Among 58,019 compound tested, 268 compounds caused 20% or more reduction of the polarized emission in the FP assay. A small subset of these primary screen hits, belonging to two scaffolds, caused relaxation of isolated ASM cell in vitro and attenuated active force development of intact tissue ex vivo.Conclusions: This staged biophysical screening paradigm provides proof-of-principle for high-throughput and cost-effective discovery of new small molecule therapeutic agents for obstructive lung diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine