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Systematic Identification of MCU Modulators by Orthogonal Interspecies Chemical Screening.

Mol Cell. 2017 Aug 17;67(4):711-723.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.07.019.

Authors/Editors: Arduino DM, Wettmarshausen J, Vais H, Navas-Navarro P, Cheng Y, Leimpek A, Ma Z, Delrio-Lorenzo A, Giordano A, Garcia-Perez C, Médard G, Kuster B, García-Sancho J, Mokranjac D, Foskett JK, Alonso MT, Perocchi F.
Publication Date: 2017

2017_08_arduino

Abstract

The mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex is essential for calcium (Ca2+) uptake into mitochondria of all mammalian tissues, where it regulates bioenergetics, cell death, and Ca2+ signal transduction. Despite its involvement in several human diseases, we currently lack pharmacological agents for targeting uniporter activity. Here we introduce a high-throughput assay that selects for human MCU-specific small-molecule modulators in primary drug screens. Using isolated yeast mitochondria, reconstituted with human MCU, its essential regulator EMRE, and aequorin, and exploiting a D-lactate- and mannitol/sucrose-based bioenergetic shunt that greatly minimizes false-positive hits, we identify mitoxantrone out of more than 600 clinically approved drugs as a direct selective inhibitor of human MCU. We validate mitoxantrone in orthogonal mammalian cell-based assays, demonstrating that our screening approach is an effective and robust tool for MCU-specific drug discovery and, more generally, for the identification of compounds that target mitochondrial functions.

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