In recent years, the ability to unambiguously identify complex mixtures of analytes with high accuracy and resolving power in a label-free format continues to expand the application of mass spectrometry (MS) in the drug discovery process. This advantage combined with improved instrumentation makes MS suitable for targets with limited alternative assays for high-throughput screening (HTS). We describe a novel screening format using Self-Assembled Monolayers and matrix-assisted laser Desorption Ionization (SAMDI) technology. SAMDI enables affinity capture of a target protein for use in a small-molecule-binding assay format. Subsequent ionization enables the inferred identification of noncovalent compound interactions. SAMDI technology overcomes shot-to-shot variability by uniformly saturating the surface with captured protein, thereby minimizing matrix crystallization “hot spots.” Furthermore, the combination with high-resolution matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight significantly reduces interference of small-molecule detection from salt, detergent, and matrix. By using a pooled library format, the SAMDI assay can significantly improve the throughput of MS-based screening irrespective of enzyme activity. Finally, we demonstrate binding affinity rank ordering from a pool of compounds that correlates with potency data from a biochemical assay.

SLAS Disc 2017 22, 1211-17.