Novel Class of Potential Therapeutics that Target Ricin Retrograde Translocation
Ricin toxin, an A-B toxin from Ricinus communis, induces cell death through the inhibition of protein synthesis. The toxin binds to the cell surface via its B chain (RTB) followed by its retrograde trafficking through intracellular compartments to the ER where the A chain (RTA) is transported across the membrane and into the cytosol. Ricin A chain is transported across the ER membrane utilizing cellular proteins involved in the disposal of aberrant ER proteins by a process referred to as
... ade translocation. Given the current lack of therapeutics against ricin intoxication, we developed a high-content screen using an enzymatically attenuated RTA chimera engineered with a carboxy-terminal enhanced green fluorescent protein (RTA E177Q egfp) to identify compounds that target RTA retrograde translocation. Stabilizing RTA E177Q egfp through the inclusion of proteasome inhibitor produced fluorescent peri-nuclear granules. Quantitative analysis of the fluorescent granules provided the basis to discover compounds from a small chemical library (2080 compounds) with known bioactive properties. Strikingly, the screen found OPEN ACCESS Toxins 2014, 6 34 compounds that stabilized RTA molecules within the cell and several compounds limited the ability of wild type RTA to suppress protein synthesis. Collectively, a robust high-content screen was developed to discover novel compounds that stabilize intracellular ricin and limit ricin intoxication.