Fluorescent substrates for soluble epoxide hydrolase and application to inhibition studies

Paul D. Jones, Nicola M. Wolf, Christophe Morisseau, Paul Whetstone, Bertold Hock, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Inhibition of the mammalian soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is a promising new therapy in the treatment of disorders resulting from hypertension and vascular inflammation. A spectrophotometric assay (4-nitrophenyl-trans-2,3- epoxy-3-phenylpropyl carbonate, NEPC) is currently used to screen libraries of chemicals; however this assay lacks the required sensitivity to differentiate the most potent inhibitors. A series of fluorescent α-cyanoester and α-cyanocarbonate epoxides that produce a strong fluorescent signal on epoxide hydrolysis by both human and murine sEH were designed as potential substrates for an in vitro inhibition assay. The murine enzyme showed a broad range of specificities, whereas the human enzyme showed the highest specificity for cyano(6-methoxy-naphthalen-2-yl)methyl trans-[(3-phenyloxiran-2-yl)methyl] carbonate. An in vitro inhibition assay was developed using this substrate and recombinant enzyme. The utility of the fluorescent assay was confirmed by determining the IC50 values for a series of known inhibitors. The new IC50 values were compared with those determined by spectrophotometric NEPC and radioactive tDPPO assays. The fluorescent assay ranked these inhibitors on the basis of IC50 values, whereas the NEPC assay did not. The ranking of inhibitor potency generally agreed with that determined using the tDPPO assay. These results show that the fluorescence-based assay is a valuable tool in the development of sEH inhibitors by revealing structure-activity relationships that previously were seen only by using the costly and labor-intensive radioactive tDPPO assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


  • α-Cyanocarbonate
  • α-Cyanoester
  • Fluorescent substrate
  • Kinetic assay
  • Soluble epoxide hydrolase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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