Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) or diphtheria toxin like ADP-ribosyl transferases (ARTDs) are enzymes that catalyze the covalent modification of proteins by attachment of ADP-ribose units to the target amino acid residues or to the growing chain of ADP-ribose. A subclass of the ARTD superfamily consists of mono-ADP-ribosyl transferases that are thought to modify themselves and other substrate proteins by covalently adding only a single ADP-ribose moiety to the target. Many of the ARTD enzymes are either established or potential drug targets and a functional activity assay for them will be a valuable tool to identify selective inhibitors for each enzyme. Existing assays are not directly applicable for screening of inhibitors due to the different nature of the reaction and different target molecules. We modified and applied a fluorescence-based assay previously described for PARP1/ARTD1 and tankyrase/ARTD5 for screening of PARP10/ARTD10 and PARP15/ARTD7 inhibitors. The assay measures the amount of NAD(+) present after chemically converting it to a fluorescent analog. We demonstrate that by using an excess of a recombinant acceptor protein the performance of the activity-based assay is excellent for screening of compound libraries. The assay is homogenous and cost effective, making it possible to test relatively large compound libraries. This method can be used to screen inhibitors of mono-ARTDs and profile inhibitors of the enzyme class. The assay was optimized for ARTD10 and ARTD7, but it can be directly applied to other mono-ARTDs of the ARTD superfamily. Profiling of known ARTD inhibitors against ARTD10 and ARTD7 in a validatory screening identified the best inhibitors with submicromolar potencies. Only few of the tested ARTD inhibitors were potent, implicating that there is a need to screen new compound scaffolds. This is needed to create small molecules that could serve as biological probes and potential starting points for drug discovery projects against mono-ARTDs.
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