High quality drug screening by capillary electrophoresis: A review
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High quality assays are needed in drug discovery to reduce the high attrition rate of lead compounds during primary screening. Capillary electrophoresis (CE) represents a versatile micro-separation technique for resolution of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, including substrate(s), product(s), cofactor(s) and their stereoisomers, which is needed for reliable characterization of biomolecular interactions in free solution. This review article provides a critical overview of new advances in CE for drug screening over the past five years involving biologically relevant enzymes of therapeutic interest, including transferases, hydrolases, oxidoreductases, and isomerases. The basic principles and major configurations in CE, as well as data processing methods needed for rigorous characterization of enzyme inhibition are described. New developments in functional screening of small molecules that modulate the activity of disease-related enzymes are also discussed. Although inhibition is a widely measured response in most enzyme assays, other important outcomes of ligand interactions on protein structure/function that impact the therapeutic potential of a drug will also be highlighted, such as enzyme stabilization, activation and/or catalytic uncoupling. CE offers a selective platform for drug screening that reduces false-positives while also enabling the analysis of low amounts of complex sample mixtures with minimal sample handling.