Molecular Tweezers and Amyloid Assembly Inhibitors

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2012 Jun 20;3(6):451-8. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Comparison of Three Amyloid Assembly Inhibitors: The Sugar scyllo-Inositol, the Polyphenol Epigallocatechin Gallate, and the Molecular Tweezer CLR01.

Sinha SDu ZMaiti PKlärner FGSchrader TWang CBitan G.

Abstract

Many compounds have been tested as inhibitors or modulators of amyloid β-protein (Aβ) assembly in hope that they would lead to effective, disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These compounds typically were either designed to break apart β-sheets or selected empirically. Two such compounds, the natural inositol derivative scyllo-inositol and the green-tea-derived flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), currently are in clinical trials. Similar to most of the compounds tested thus far, the mechanism of action of scyllo-inositol and EGCG is not understood.

Recently, we discovered a novel family of assembly modulators, Lysine-specific molecular tweezers, which act by binding specifically to Lys residues and modulate the self-assembly of amyloid proteins, including Aβ, into formation of nontoxic oligomers by a process-specific mechanism (Sinha, S., Lopes, D. H., Du, Z., Pang, E. S., Shanmugam, A., Lomakin, A., Talbiersky, P., Tennstaedt, A., McDaniel, K., Bakshi, R., Kuo, P. Y., Ehrmann, M., Benedek, G. B., Loo, J. A., Klarner, F. G., Schrader, T., Wang, C., and Bitan, G. (2011) Lysine-specific molecular tweezers are broad-spectrum inhibitors of assembly and toxicity of amyloid proteins. J. Am. Chem. Soc.133, 16958-16969).

Here, we compared side-by-side the capability of scyllo-inositol, EGCG, and the molecular tweezer CLR01 to inhibit Aβ aggregation and toxicity. We found that EGCG and CLR01 had comparable activity whereas scyllo-inositol was a weaker inhibitor.

Exploration of the binding of EGCG and CLR01 to Aβ using heteronuclear solution-state NMR showed that whereas CLR01 bound to the two Lys and single Arg residues in Aβ monomers, only weak, nonspecific binding was detected for EGCG, leaving the binding mode of the latter unresolved.

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