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BACKGROUND: 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH, EC is the key enzyme for the inactivation of prostaglandins, regulating processes such as inflammation or proliferation. The anabolic pathways of prostaglandins, especially with respect to regulation of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes have been studied in detail; however, little is known about downstream events including functional interaction of prostaglandin-processing and -metabolizing enzymes. High-affinity probes for 15-PGDH will, therefore, represent important tools for further studies. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To identify novel high-affinity inhibitors of 15-PGDH we performed a quantitative high-throughput screen (qHTS) by testing >160 thousand compounds in a concentration-response format and identified compounds that act as noncompetitive inhibitors as well as a competitive inhibitor, with nanomolar affinity. Both types of inhibitors caused strong thermal stabilization of the enzyme, with cofactor dependencies correlating with their mechanism of action. We solved the structure of human 15-PGDH and explored the binding modes of the inhibitors to the enzyme in silico. We found binding modes that are consistent with the observed mechanisms of action. CONCLUSIONS: Low cross-reactivity in screens of over 320 targets, including three other human dehydrogenases/reductases, suggest selectivity of the present inhibitors for 15-PGDH. The high potencies and different mechanisms of action of these chemotypes make them a useful set of complementary chemical probes for functional studies of prostaglandin-signaling pathways. ENHANCED VERSION: This article can also be viewed as an enhanced version in which the text of the article is integrated with interactive 3D representations and animated transitions. Please note that a web plugin is required to access this enhanced functionality. Instructions for the installation and use of the web plugin are available in Text S2.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Binding Sites, Binding, Competitive, Biocatalysis, Crystallography, X-Ray, Dinoprostone, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Enzyme Inhibitors, Humans, Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases, Kinetics, Models, Molecular, Molecular Structure, NAD, Oxidation-Reduction, Protein Binding, Protein Multimerization, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Structure-Activity Relationship, Substrate Specificity