A Therapeutic Antibody Targeting BACE1 Inhibits Amyloid- Production in Vivo

Neurodegeneration Labs, Department of Neuroscience, Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.
Science translational medicine (Impact Factor: 15.84). 05/2011; 3(84):84ra43. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002254
Source: PubMed


Reducing production of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide by direct inhibition of the enzymes that process amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a central therapeutic strategy for treating Alzheimer's disease. However, small-molecule inhibitors of the β-secretase (BACE1) and γ-secretase APP processing enzymes have shown a lack of target selectivity and poor penetrance of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Here, we have developed a high-affinity, phage-derived human antibody that targets BACE1 (anti-BACE1) and is anti-amyloidogenic. Anti-BACE1 reduces endogenous BACE1 activity and Aβ production in human cell lines expressing APP and in cultured primary neurons. Anti-BACE1 is highly selective and does not inhibit the related enzymes BACE2 or cathepsin D. Competitive binding assays and x-ray crystallography indicate that anti-BACE1 binds noncompetitively to an exosite on BACE1 and not to the catalytic site. Systemic dosing of mice and nonhuman primates with anti-BACE1 resulted in sustained reductions in peripheral Aβ peptide concentrations. Anti-BACE1 also reduces central nervous system Aβ concentrations in mouse and monkey, consistent with a measurable uptake of antibody across the BBB. Thus, BACE1 can be targeted in a highly selective manner through passive immunization with anti-BACE1, providing a potential approach for treating Alzheimer's disease. Nevertheless, therapeutic success with anti-BACE1 will depend on improving antibody uptake into the brain.

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    • "The residue-based decomposition analysis shows that the key residues located within the structural elements denoted as loops C and D contribute strongly to the Fab–BACE1 complex formation. These findings are in complete agreement with experimental (Atwal et al., 2011; Kornacker et al., 2007; Yu et al., 2011) and theoretical (Gutierrez et al., 2010) results aimed to locate and characterize the BACE1 exosite. "
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