There is an urgent need to develop new, safe, and affordable macrofilaricidal drugs for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis treatment and control. The Anti-Wolbachia Consortium (A·WOL) aims to provide a novel treatment with macrofilaricidal activity by targeting the essential bacterial symbiont Wolbachia. The consortium is currently screening a diverse range of compounds to find new chemical space to drive this drug discovery initiative and address this unmet demand. To increase the throughput and capacity of the A·WOL cell-based screen, we have developed a 384-well format assay using a high-content imaging system (Operetta) in conjunction with optimized Wolbachia growth dynamics in the C6/36 Aedes albopictus mosquito cell line. This assay uses texture analysis of cells stained with SYTO 11 as a direct measure of bacterial load. This validated assay has dramatically increased the capacity and throughput of the A·WOL compound library screening program 25-fold, enriching the number of new anti-Wolbachia hits identified for further development as potential macrofilaricides for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.
Keywords: cell-based assays; fluorescence methods; high-content screening; phenotypic drug discovery.
© 2014 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.