Validating a firefly luciferase-based high-throughput screening assay for antimalarial drug discovery

Pulin Che, Long Cui, Olaf Kutsch, Liwang Cui, Qianjun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and recent detection of potential artemisinin-resistant strains in Southeast Asia highlight the importance of developing novel antimalarial therapies. Using a previously generated stable transgenic P. falciparum line with high-level firefly luciferase expression, we report the adaptation, miniaturization, optimization, and validation of a high-throughput screening assay in 384-well plates. Assay conditions, including the percentage of parasitemia and hematocrit, were optimized. Parameters of assay robustness, including Z′-value, coefficient variation (CV), and signal-to-background (S/B) ratio, were determined. The LOPAC 1280 small-compound library was used to validate this assay. Our results demonstrated that this assay is robust and reliable, with an average Z′-value of >0.7 and CV of <10%. Moreover, this assay showed a very low background, with the S/B ratio up to 71. Further, identified hits were selected and confirmed using a SYBR Green I-based confirmatory assay. It is evident that this assay is suitable for large-scale screening of chemical libraries for antimalarial drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalAssay and Drug Development Technologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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