A bioluminogenic HDAC activity assay: validation and screening

J Biomol Screen. 2011 Dec;16(10):1227-35. doi: 10.1177/1087057111416004. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes modify the acetylation state of histones and other important proteins. Aberrant HDAC enzyme function has been implicated in many diseases, and the discovery and development of drugs targeting these enzymes is becoming increasingly important. In this article, the authors report the evaluation of homogeneous, single-addition, bioluminogenic HDAC enzyme activity assays that offer less assay interference by compounds in comparison to fluorescence-based formats. The authors assessed the key operational assay properties including sensitivity, scalability, reproducibility, signal stability, robustness (Z'), DMSO tolerance, and pharmacological response to standard inhibitors against HDAC-1, HDAC-3/NcoR2, HDAC-6, and SIRT-1 enzymes. These assays were successfully miniaturized to a 10 µL assay volume, and their suitability for high-throughput screening was tested in validation experiments using 640 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Hypha Discovery MycoDiverse natural products library, which is a collection of 10 049 extracts and fractions from fermentations of higher fungi and contains compounds that are of low molecular weight and wide chemical diversity. Both of these screening campaigns confirmed that the bioluminogenic assay was high-throughput screening compatible and yielded acceptable performance in confirmation, counter, and compound/extract and fraction concentration-response assays.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Automation, Laboratory
  • Drug Discovery
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Assays / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Histone Deacetylases / analysis*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sirtuins / metabolism
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Sirtuins
  • Histone Deacetylases