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PPAR Research
Volume 2018, Article ID 3681590, 14 pages
Research Article

Cellular and Biophysical Pipeline for the Screening of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Beta/Delta Agonists: Avoiding False Positives

1Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil
2Graduate Program in Biosciences and Technology of Bioactive Products, Institute of Biology, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, SP, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Ana Carolina Migliorini Figueira; rb.mepnc.oibnl@arieugif.ana

Received 29 September 2017; Revised 22 January 2018; Accepted 5 February 2018; Published 12 April 2018

Academic Editor: Stéphane Mandard

Copyright © 2018 Natália Bernardi Videira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta/delta (PPARß/δ) is considered a therapeutic target for metabolic disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Here, we developed one pipeline for the screening of PPARß/δ agonists, which reduces the cost, time, and false-positive hits. The first step is an optimized 3-day long cellular transactivation assay based on reporter-gene technology, which is supported by automated liquid-handlers. This primary screening is followed by a confirmatory transactivation assay and by two biophysical validation methods (thermal shift assay (TSA) and (ANS) fluorescence quenching), which allow the calculation of the affinity constant, giving more information about the selected hits. All of the assays were validated using well-known commercial agonists providing trustworthy data. Furthermore, to validate and test this pipeline, we screened a natural extract library (560 extracts), and we found one plant extract that might be interesting for PPARß/δ modulation. In conclusion, our results suggested that we developed a cheaper and more robust pipeline that goes beyond the single activation screening, as it also evaluates PPARß/δ tertiary structure stabilization and the ligand affinity constant, selecting only molecules that directly bind to the receptor. Moreover, this approach might improve the effectiveness of the screening for agonists that target PPARß/δ for drug development.