ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies
Epigenetic modulators play critical roles in reprogramming of cellular functions, emerging as a new class of promising therapeutic targets. Nuclear receptor binding SET domain protein 3 (NSD3) is a member of the lysine methyltransferase family. Interestingly, the short isoform of NSD3 without the methyltransferase fragment, NSD3S, exhibits oncogenic activity in a wide range of cancers. We recently showed that NSD3S interacts with MYC, a central regulator of tumorigenesis, suggesting a mechanism by which NSD3S regulates cell proliferation through engaging MYC. Thus, small molecule inhibitors of the NSD3S/MYC interaction will be valuable tools for understanding the function of NSD3 in tumorigenesis for potential cancer therapeutic discovery. Here we report the development of a cell lysate-based time-resolvedfluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay in an ultrahigh-throughput screening (uHTS) format to monitor the interaction of NSD3S with MYC. In our TR-FRET assay, anti-Flag-terbium and anti-glutathione S-transferase (GST)-d2, a paired fluorophores, were used to indirectly label Flag-tagged NSD3 and GST-MYC in HEK293T cell lysates. This TR-FRET assay is robust in a 1,536-well uHTS format, with signal-to-background >8 and a Z' factor >0.7. A pilot screening with the Spectrum library of 2,000 compounds identified several positive hits. One positive compound was confirmed to disrupt the NSD3/MYC interaction in an orthogonal protein-protein interaction assay. Thus, our optimized uHTS assay could be applied to future scaling up of a screening campaign to identify small molecule inhibitors targeting the NSD3/MYC interaction.