G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are seven-transmembrane domain receptors that interact with the β-arrestin family, particularly β-arrestin 1 (ARRB1). GPCRs interact with 33% of small molecule drugs. Ligand screening is promising for drug discovery concerning GPCR-related diseases. Luciferase complementation assay (LCA) enables detection of protein–protein complementation via bioluminescence following complementation of N- and C-terminal luciferase fragments (NEluc and CEluc) fused to target proteins, but it is necessary to co-express the two genes. Here, we developed LCAs with mouse artificial chromosomes (MACs) that have unique characteristics such as stable maintenance and a substantial insert-carrying capacity. First, an NEluc-ARRB1 was inserted into MAC4 by Cre-loxP recombination in CHO cells, named ARRB1-MAC4. Second, a parathyroid hormone receptor 2 (PTHR2)-CEluc or prostaglandin EP4 receptor (hEP4)-CEluc were inserted into ARRB1-MAC4, named ARRB1-PTHR2-MAC4 and ARRB1-hEP4-MAC4, respectively, via the sequential integration of multiple vectors (SIM) system. Each MAC was transferred into HEK293 cells by microcell-mediated chromosome transfer (MMCT). LCAs using the established HEK293 cell lines resulted in 35,000 photon counts upon somatostatin stimulation for ARRB1-MAC4 with transient transfection of the somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) expression vector, 1800 photon counts upon parathyroid hormone stimulation for ARRB1-PTHR2-MAC4, and 35,000 photon counts upon prostaglandin E2 stimulation for ARRB1-hEP4-MAC4. These MACs were maintained independently from host chromosomes in CHO and HEK293 cells. HEK293 cells containing ARRB1-PTHR2-MAC4 showed a stable reaction for long-term. Thus, the combination of gene loading by the SIM system into a MAC and an LCA targeting GPCRs provides a novel and useful platform to discover drugs for GPCR-related diseases.
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