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Amyloid beta 42 peptide (Aβ42)-lowering compounds directly bind to Aβ and interfere with amyloid precursor protein (APP) transmembrane dimerization

Luise Richter, Lisa-Marie Munter, Julia Ness, Peter W. Hildebrand, Muralidhar Dasari, Stephanie Unterreitmeier, Bruno Bulic, Michael Beyermann, Ronald Gust, Bernd Reif, Sascha Weggen, Dieter Langosch, Gerd Multhaup and Leslie Lars
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 107, No. 33 (August 17, 2010), pp. 14597-14602
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25708954
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Amyloid beta 42 peptide (Aβ42)-lowering compounds directly bind to Aβ and interfere with amyloid precursor protein (APP) transmembrane dimerization
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Abstract

Following ectodomain shedding by β-secretase, successive proteolytic cleavages within the transmembrane sequence (TMS) of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) catalyzed by γ-secretase result in the release of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides of variable length. Aβ peptides with 42 amino acids appear to be the key pathogenic species in Alzheimer's disease, as they are believed to initiate neuronal degeneration. Sulindac sulfide, which is known as a potent γ-secretase modulator (GSM), selectively reduces Aβ42 production in favor of shorter Aβ species, such as Aβ38. By studying APP–TMS dimerization we previously showed that an attenuated interaction similarly decreased Aβ42 levels and concomitantly increased Aβ38 levels. However, the precise molecular mechanism by which GSMs modulate Aβ production is still unclear. In this study, using a reporter gene-based dimerization assay, we found that APP–TMS dimers are destabilized by sulindac sulfide and related Aβ42-lowering compounds in a concentration-dependent manner. By surface plasmon resonance analysis and NMR spectroscopy, we show that sulindac sulfide and novel sulindac-derived compounds directly bind to the Aβ sequence. Strikingly, the attenuated APP–TMS interaction by GSMs correlated strongly with Aβ42-lowering activity and binding strength to the Aβ sequence. Molecular docking analyses suggest that certain GSMs bind to the GxxxG dimerization motif in the APP–TMS. We conclude that these GSMs decrease Aβ42 levels by modulating APP–TMS interactions. This effect specifically emphasizes the importance of the dimeric APP–TMS as a promising drug target in Alzheimer's disease.

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