Covalent modifications, such as methylation and demethylation of lysine residues in histones, play important roles in chromatin dynamics and the regulation of gene expression. The lysine demethylases (KDMs) catalyze the demethylation of lysine residues on histone tails and are associated with diverse human diseases, including cancer, and are therefore proposed as targets for the therapeutic modulation of gene transcription.
Protein methyltransferases (PMTs) orchestrate epigenetic modifications through post-translational methylation of various protein substrates including histones. Since dysregulation of this process is widely implicated in many cancers, it is of pertinent interest to screen inhibitors of PMTs, as they offer novel target-based opportunities to discover small molecules with potential chemotherapeutic use.
We have thus developed an enzymatic screening strategy, which can be adapted to scintillation proximity imaging assay (SPIA) format, to identify these inhibitors. We took advantage of S-adenosyl-L-[3H-methyl]-methionine availability and monitored the enzymatically catalyzed [3H]-methyl addition on lysine residues of biotinylated custom peptide synthesis. The radiolabeled custom peptide synthesis were subsequently captured by streptavidin coated SPA imaging PS beads. We applied this strategy to four PMTs: SET7/9, SET8, SETD2, and EuHMTase1, and optimized assay conditions to achieve Z&' values ranging from 0.48 to 0.91. The robust performance of this SPIA for the four PMTs was validated in a pilot screen of