Identification of drug modulators targeting gene-dosage disease CMT1A

ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Jul 20;7(7):1205-13. doi: 10.1021/cb300048d. Epub 2012 May 2.


The structural integrity of myelin formed by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is required for proper nerve conduction and is dependent on adequate expression of myelin genes including peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22). Consequently, excess PMP22 resulting from its genetic duplication and overexpression has been directly associated with the peripheral neuropathy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A), the most prevalent type of CMT. Here, in an attempt to identify transcriptional inhibitors with therapeutic value toward CMT1A, we developed a cross-validating pair of orthogonal reporter assays, firefly luciferase (FLuc) and β-lactamase (βLac), capable of recapitulating PMP22 expression, utilizing the intronic regulatory element of the human PMP22 gene. Each compound from a collection of approximately 3,000 approved drugs was tested at multiple titration points to achieve a pharmacological end point in a 1536-well plate quantitative high-throughput screen (qHTS) format. In conjunction with an independent counter-screen for cytotoxicity, the design of our orthogonal screen platform effectively contributed to selection and prioritization of active compounds, among which three drugs (fenretinide, olvanil, and bortezomib) exhibited marked reduction of endogenous Pmp22 mRNA and protein. Overall, the findings of this study provide a strategic approach to assay development for gene-dosage diseases such as CMT1A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Capsaicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / drug therapy
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Fenretinide / administration & dosage
  • Gene Dosage / drug effects
  • Gene Dosage / physiology*
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Humans
  • Myelin Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Myelin Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Myelin Proteins / genetics*


  • Myelin Proteins
  • PMP22 protein, human
  • Fenretinide
  • olvanil
  • Capsaicin