A "Dual-Addition" Calcium Fluorescence Assay for the High-Throughput Screening of Recombinant G Protein-Coupled Receptors. Academic Article uri icon


  • G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest superfamily of receptors and are the targets of numerous human drugs. High-throughput screening (HTS) of random small molecule libraries against GPCRs is used by the pharmaceutical industry for target-specific drug discovery. In this study, an HTS was employed to identify novel small-molecule ligands of invertebrate-specific neuropeptide GPCRs as probes for physiological studies of vectors of deadly human and veterinary pathogens. The invertebrate-specific kinin receptor was chosen as a target because it regulates many important physiological processes in invertebrates, including diuresis, feeding, and digestion. Furthermore, the pharmacology of many invertebrate GPCRs is poorly characterized or not characterized at all; therefore, the differential pharmacology of these groups of receptors with respect to the related GPCRs in other metazoans, especially humans, adds knowledge to the structure-activity relationships of GPCRs as a superfamily. An HTS assay was developed for cells in 384-well plates for the discovery of ligands of the kinin receptor from the cattle fever tick, or southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus. The tick kinin receptor was stably expressed in CHO-K1 cells. The kinin receptor, when activated by endogenous kinin neuropeptides or other small molecule agonists, triggers Ca2+ release from calcium stores into the cytoplasm. This calcium fluorescence assay combined with a "dual-addition" approach can detect functional agonist and antagonist "hit" molecules in the same assay plate. Each assay was conducted using drug plates carrying an array of 320 random small molecules. A reliable Z' factor of 0.7 was obtained, and three agonist and two antagonist hit molecules were identified when the HTS was at a 2 M final concentration. The calcium fluorescence assay reported here can be adapted to screen other GPCRs that activate the Ca2+ signaling cascade.

published proceedings

  • J Vis Exp

author list (cited authors)

  • Xiong, C., Baker, D., & Pietrantonio, P.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Xiong, Caixing||Baker, Dwight||Pietrantonio, Patricia

publication date

  • January 2022