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Zettl H.,ETH Zurich | Ness J.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Hahnke V.,ETH Zurich | Beher D.,Global Research and Early Development | And 7 more authors.
ACS Chemical Biology | Year: 2012

We present an integrated approach to identify and optimize a novel class of γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) with a unique pharmacological profile. Our strategy included (i) virtual screening through application of a recently developed protocol (PhAST), (ii) synthetic chemistry to discover structure-activity relationships, and (iii) detailed in vitro pharmacological characterization. GSMs are promising agents for treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease. They modulate the γ-secretase product spectrum (i.e., amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides of different length) and induce a shift from toxic Aβ42 to shorter Aβ species such as Aβ38 with no or minimal effect on the overall rate of γ-secretase cleavage. We describe the identification of a series of 4-hydroxypyridin-2-one derivatives, which display a novel type of γ-secretase modulation with equipotent inhibition of Aβ42 and Aβ38 peptide species. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Heneka M.T.,University of Bonn | Kummer M.P.,University of Bonn | Weggen S.,Heinrich Group | Bulic B.,Research Group Chemical Biology of Neurodegenerative Diseases | And 5 more authors.
Current Alzheimer Research | Year: 2011

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of neurodegenerative dementias worldwide. Amyloid-β deposition, neurofibrillary tangle formation and Neuroinflammation are the major pathogenetic mechanisms that in concert lead to memory dysfunction and decline of cognition. To date, there is no curative treatment for AD. Epidemiological analysis support the notion that sustained intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the risk and delay the onset of AD. In contrast, therapeutic studies testing NSAID efficacy in AD patients have not yielded positive results. This suggests that either the investigated drugs have not addressed the mechanism of action required for mediating beneficial effects or that NSAIDs are effective at stages way before clinical onset of symptoms. The NSAIDs concerned are pleiotrophic in nature and interact with more than one pathomechanism. Therefore evidence for more than one neuroprotective action of NSAIDs has been put forward and it seems likely that some of the drugs act at multiple levels through more than one molecular mechanism. Some, even may not only be beneficial, but negative actions may be overruled by protective effects. Within these mechanisms, modulation of γ-secretase activity, the activation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, binding to prostaglandin receptors or interactions at the blood-brain barrier may account for the observed protection from AD. This article reviews the current knowledge and views on the above mechanisms and critically discusses current obstacles and the potential as future AD therapeutics. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Hahn S.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Bruning T.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Ness J.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Czirr E.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2011

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. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry © 2010 International Society for Neurochemistry.


Jumpertz T.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Rennhack A.,Research Group Chemical Biology of Neurodegenerative Diseases | Ness J.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Baches S.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The intramembrane-cleaving protease γ-secretase catalyzes the last step in the generation of toxic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides and is a principal therapeutic target in Alzheimer's disease. Both preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that inhibition of γ-secretase is associated with prohibitive side effects due to suppression of Notch processing and signaling. Potentially safer are γ-secretase modulators (GSMs), which are small molecules that selectively lower generation of the highly amyloidogenic Aβ42 peptides but spare Notch processing. GSMs with nanomolar potency and favorable pharmacological properties have been described, but the molecular mechanism of GSMs remains uncertain and both the substrate amyloid precursor protein (APP) and subunits of the γ-secretase complex have been proposed as the molecular target of GSMs. We have generated a potent photo-probe based on an acidic GSM that lowers Aβ42 generation with an IC 50 of 290 nM in cellular assays. By combining in vivo photo-crosslinking with affinity purification, we demonstrated that this probe binds the N-terminal fragment of presenilin (PSEN), the catalytic subunit of the γ-secretase complex, in living cells. Labeling was not observed for APP or any of the other γ-secretase subunits. Binding was readily competed by structurally divergent acidic and non-acidic GSMs suggesting a shared mode of action. These findings indicate that potent acidic GSMs target presenilin to modulate the enzymatic activity of the γ-secretase complex. © 2012 Jumpertz et al.


Rennhack A.,Research Group Chemical Biology of Neurodegenerative Diseases | Jumpertz T.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Ness J.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Baches S.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | And 3 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2012

Supramolecular self-assembly of amyloidogenic peptides is closely associated with numerous pathological conditions. For instance, Alzheimeŕs disease (AD) is characterized by abundant amyloid plaques originating from the proteolytic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. Compounds named γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) can shift the substrate cleavage specificity of γ-secretase toward the production of non-amyloidogenic, shorter Aβ fragments. Herein, we describe the synthesis of highly potent acidic GSMs, equipped with a photoreactive diazirine moiety for photoaffinity labeling. The probes labeled the N-terminal fragment of presenilin (the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase), supporting a mode of action involving binding to γ-secretase. This fundamental step toward the elucidation of the molecular mechanism governing the GSM-induced shift in γ-secretase proteolytic specificity should pave the way for the development of improved drugs against AD. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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