Automation and miniaturization of the bioluminescent UGT-Glo assay for screening of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase inhibition by various compounds

J Lab Autom. 2011 Feb;16(1):38-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jala.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 Jul 24.


The uridine 5'-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) family of enzymes is involved in the metabolism of various compounds. These enzymes transfer a hydrophilic glucuronic acid moiety to their substrates, rendering them more water soluble and amenable to excretion. The UGTs act on various endogenous substrates, such as bilirubin, 17β-estradiol, and testosterone, and drugs and other xenobiotics. The function of these enzymes is essential for the clearance of drugs and toxicants, and alteration of UGT activity is a potential cause of adverse drug-drug interactions in vivo. This has stimulated an increased interest in the study of UGT function and inhibition, and the desire to profile new drug entities against UGT enzymes, similar to CYP450 profiling. However, certain factors have hindered the development of a robust method for UGT profiling. Current methods for assessing UGT enzyme activity are laborious and involve protein precipitation and/or chromatographic separation steps, which are not amenable to rapid screening applications for UGT inhibitors or substrates. The approach presented here is a bioluminescent assay for measuring UGT enzyme activity and inhibition in vitro. Using flexible, robust instrumentation in a 384-well microplate format, this study highlights the quick and easy assay implementation for estimation of inhibition kinetics with a variety of known and suspected UGT substrates and inhibitors.

MeSH terms

  • Automation, Laboratory / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / analysis*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Miniaturization / methods*
  • Small Molecule Libraries


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Glucuronosyltransferase