Cell-based assays closely mimic the environment of a living cell and have been used for confirmation of leads coming from primary in vitro biochemical screens. Cell-based assays are used for targets where biochemical assays are not available.
Cell-based assays also give information about cellular interactions with the target and also shed light on the stability of compounds . Traditionally, the cell-based assays have been low throughput or medium throughput due to the cumbersome steps involved. With the advances in molecular, assay, and instrumentation technologies, now homogeneous high-throughput cell-based assays are available for primary screening. Like biochemical assays, cell-based assays can be divided into heterogeneous and homogeneous assays (Fig. 5).
A. Heterogeneous Assays
The heterogeneous assays consist of radioactive and nonradioactive assays. Non-radioactive assays are mainly ELISA assays.
Cells are treated with compounds, and the cellular changes are assayed by ELISA assays. Cell-based assays for screening receptor-mediated changes in signal transduction like cAMP can be measured in the cell extracts by ELISA assays.
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