Presenilin-1 but not amyloid precursor protein mutations present in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease attenuate the response of cultured cells to γ-secretase modulators regardless of their potency and structure.
ABSTRACT γ-Secretase modulators (GSMs) inhibit the generation of amyloidogenic Aβ42 peptides and are promising agents for treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently, a second generation of GSMs with favorable pharmacological properties has emerged, but preclinical studies to assess their efficacy in vivo are lacking. Such studies rely on transgenic mouse models that express amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin (PSEN) mutations associated with early-onset familial AD. Previously, we have shown that certain PSEN1 mutations attenuated the response of cultured cells to GSMs and potentially confound in vivo studies in AD mouse models. However, different combinations of familial AD mutations might have synergistic or opposing effects, and we have now systematically determined the response of APP and PSEN1 mutations present in current AD models. Using a potent acidic GSM, we found that APP mutations, either single mutations or in combination, did not affect the potency of GSMs. In contrast, all PSEN1 mutations that have been used to accelerate pathological changes in AD models strongly attenuated the Aβ42-lowering activity of GSMs with two exceptions (M146L, A246E). Similar results were obtained with potent non-acidic GSMs indicating that the attenuating effect of PSEN1 mutations cannot simply be overcome by increased potency or structural changes. Notably, two non-acidic compounds fully compensated the attenuating effect of the PSEN1-G384A mutation. Taken together, our findings indicate that most AD models with rapid pathology and advanced phenotypes are unsuitable for preclinical GSM studies. However, we also provide evidence that additional compound screens could discover GSMs that are able to break the attenuating effects of PSEN mutations.
Article: Chemical Biology, Molecular Mechanism and Clinical Perspective of γ-Secretase Modulators in Alzheimer's Disease.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Comprehensive evidence supports that oligomerization and accumulation of amyloidogenic Aβ42 peptides in brain is crucial in the pathogenesis of both familial and sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease. Imaging studies indicate that the buildup of Aβ begins many years before the onset of clinical symptoms, and that subsequent neurodegeneration and cognitive decline may proceed independently of Aβ. This implies the necessity for early intervention in cognitively normal individuals with therapeutic strategies that prioritize safety. The aspartyl protease γ-secretase catalyses the last step in the cellular generation of Aβ42 peptides, and is a principal target for anti-amyloidogenic intervention strategies. Due to the essential role of γ-secretase in the NOTCH signaling pathway, overt mechanism-based toxicity has been observed with the first generation of γ-secretase inhibitors, and safety of this approach has been questioned. However, two new classes of small molecules, γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) and NOTCH-sparing γ-secretase inhibitors, have revitalized γ-secretase as a drug target in AD. GSMs are small molecules that cause a product shift from Aβ42 towards shorter and less toxic Ab peptides. Importantly, GSMs spare other physiologically important substrates of the γ-secretase complex like NOTCH. Recently, GSMs with nanomolar potency and favorable in vivo properties have been described. In this review, we summarize the knowledge about the unusual proteolytic activity of γ-secretase, and the chemical biology, molecular mechanisms and clinical perspective of compounds that target the γ-secretase complex, with a particular focus on GSMs.DNA research: an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes 12/2011; 9(4):598-622. · 1.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: γ-Secretase is an aspartyl intramembranal protease composed of presenilin, Nicastrin, Aph1 and Pen2 with 19 transmembrane domains. γ-Secretase cleaves the amyloid precursor proteins (APP) to release Aβ peptides that likely play a causative role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). In addition, γ-secretase cleaves Notch and other type I membrane proteins. γ-Secretase inhibitors (GSIs) have been developed and used for clinical studies. However, clinical trials have shown adverse effects of GSIs that are potentially linked with non-discriminatory inhibition of Notch signaling, overall APP processing and possible other substrates. Therefore, these findings call for the development of disease modifying agents that target γ-secretase activity to lower Aβ42 production without blocking the overall processing of γ-secretase substrates. γ-Secretase modulators (GSMs) originally derived from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) display such characteristics and are the focus of this review. However, first generation GSMs have limited potential due to low potency and undesired neuropharmacokinetic properties. This generation of GSMs has been suggested to interact with APP substrate, γ-secretase or both. To improve the potency and brain availability, second generation GSMs including NSAID-derived carboxylic acid and non-NSAID-derived heterocyclic chemotypes as well as natural product-derived GSMs have been developed. Animal studies of this generation of GSMs have shown encouraging preclinical profiles. Moreover, using potent GSM photoaffinity probes, multiple studies unambiguously have showed that both carboxylic acid and heterocyclic GSMs specifically target presenilin, the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase. In addition, two types of GSMs have distinct binding sites within the γ-secretase complex and exhibit different Aβ profiles. GSMs induce a conformational change of γ-secretase to achieve modulation. Various models are proposed and discussed. Despite the progress of GSM research, many outstanding issues remain to be investigated to achieve the ultimate goal of developing GSMs as effective AD therapies.Biochemistry 04/2013; · 3.42 Impact Factor