A signalome screening approach in the autoinflammatory disease TNF receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS) highlights the anti-inflammatory properties of drugs for repurposing

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TNF receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS) is an autoinflammatory disease caused by mutations in TNF Receptor 1 (TNFR1). Current therapies for TRAPS are limited and do not target the pro-inflammatory signalling pathways that are central to the disease mechanism. Our aim was to identify drugs for repurposing as anti-inflammatories based on their ability to down-regulate molecules associated with inflammatory signalling pathways that are activated in TRAPS. This was achieved using rigorously optimized, high through-put cell culture and reverse phase protein microarray systems to screen compounds for their effects on the TRAPS-associated inflammatory signalome. 1360 approved, publically available, pharmacologically active substances were investigated for their effects on 40 signalling molecules associated with pro-inflammatory signalling pathways that are constitutively upregulated in TRAPS. The drugs were screened at four 10-fold concentrations on cell lines expressing both wild-type (WT) TNFR1 and TRAPS-associated C33Y mutant TNFR1, or WT TNFR1 alone; signalling molecule levels were then determined in cell lysates by the reverse-phase protein microarray. A novel mathematical methodology was developed to rank the compounds for their ability to reduce the expression of signalling molecules in the C33Y-TNFR1 transfectants towards the level seen in the WT-TNFR1 transfectants. Seven high-ranking drugs were selected and tested by RPPA for effects on the same 40 signalling molecules in lysates of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from C33Y-TRAPS patients compared to PBMCs from normal controls. The fluoroquinolone antibiotic lomefloxacin, as well as others from this class of compounds, showed the most significant effects on multiple pro-inflammatory signalling pathways that are constitutively activated in TRAPS; lomefloxacin dose-dependently significantly reduced expression of 7/40 signalling molecules across the Jak/Stat, MAPK, NF-κB and PI3K/AKT pathways. This study demonstrates the power of signalome screening for identifying candidates for drug repurposing.

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