Multiplexed Small Molecule Ligand Binding Assays by Affinity Labeling and DNA Sequence Analysis
Small molecule binding assays to target proteins are a core component of drug discovery and development. While a number of assay formats are available, significant drawbacks still remain in cost, sensitivity, and throughput. To improve assays by capitalizing on the power of DNA sequence analysis, we have developed an assay method that combines DNA encoding with split-and-pool sample handling. The approach involves affinity labeling of DNA-linked ligands to a protein target. Critically, the labeling event assesses ligand binding and enables subsequent pooling of several samples. Application of a purifying selection on the pool for protein-labeled DNAs allows detection of ligand binding by quantification of DNA barcodes. We demonstrate the approach in both ligand displacement and direct binding formats and demonstrate its utility in determination of relative ligand affinity, profiling ligand specificity, and high-throughput small molecule screening.