HTRF assay to monitor extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in a high-throughput format

Literature Life Science

A validation of the cell-based Phospho-ERK1/2 assay for the investigation of RTKs and GPCRs


The extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) are key components of multiple important cell signaling pathways regulating diverse biological responses. This signaling is characterized by phosphorylation cascades leading to ERK1/2 activation and promoted by various cell surface receptors including G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). We report the development of a new cell-based Phospho-ERK1/2 assay (designated Phospho-ERK), which is a sandwich proximity-based assay using the homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence technology. We have validated the assay on endogenously expressed ERK1/2 activated by the epidermal growth factor as a prototypical RTK, as well as various GPCRs belonging to different classes and coupling to different heterotrimeric G proteins. The assay was successfully miniaturized in 384-well plates using various cell lines endogenously, transiently, or stably expressing the different receptors. The validation was performed for agonists, antagonists, and inhibitors in dose–response as well as kinetic analysis, and the signaling and pharmacological properties of the different receptors were reproduced. Furthermore, the determination of a Z′-factor value of 0.7 indicates the potential of the Phospho-ERK assay for high-throughput screening of compounds that may modulate ERK1/2 signaling. Finally, our study is of great interest in the current context of investigating ERK1/2 signaling with respect to the emerging concepts of biased ligands, G protein-dependent/independent ERK1/2 activation, and functional transactivation between GPCRs and RTKs, illustrating the importance of considering the ERK1/2 pathway in cell signaling


Front. Endocrinol.2014.

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