Co-cultured Continuously Bioluminescent Human Cells as Bioreporters for the Detection of Prodrug Therapeutic Impact Pre- and Post-Metabolism


Tingting Xu, Michael Conway, Ashley Frank, Steven Ripp, Gary S. Sayler, Dan Close


Modern drug discovery workflows require assay systems capable of replicating the complex interactions of multiple tissue types, but that can still function under high throughput conditions. In this work, we evaluate the use of substrate-free autobioluminescence in human cell lines to support the performance of these assays with reduced economical and logistical restrictions relative to substrate-requiring bioluminescent reporter systems. The use of autobioluminescence was found to support assay functionality similar to existing luciferase reporter targets. The autobioluminescent assay format was observed to correlate strongly with general metabolic activity markers such as ATP content and the presence of reactive oxygen species, but not with secondary markers such as glutathione depletion. At the transcriptional level, autobioluminescent dynamics were most closely associated with expression of the CYP1A1 phase I detoxification pathway. These results suggest constitutively autobioluminescent cells can function as general metabolic activity bioreporters, while pairing expression of the autobioluminescent phenotype to detoxification pathway specific promoters could create more specific sensor systems.

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Xu T, Conway M, Frank A, Ripp S, Sayler G, Close D. 2017. Co-cultured continuously bioluminescent human cells as bioreporters for the detection of prodrug therapeutic impact pre- and post-metabolism. Sensors 17:e2827.