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Specific inhibition of β-secretase processing of the Alzheimer disease amyloid precursor protein

Cell Rep. 2016 Feb 24. pii: S2211-1247(16)30075-4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.076. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Ben Halima S, Mishra S, Raja KM, Willem M, Baici A, Simons K, Brüstle O, Koch P, Haass C, Caflisch A, Rajendran L.
Publication Date: 2016

2016_03_ben_halima

Abstract

Development of disease-modifying therapeutics is urgently needed for treating Alzheimer disease (AD). AD is characterized by toxic β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides produced by β- and γ-secretase-mediated cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). β-secretase inhibitors reduce Aβ levels, but mechanism-based side effects arise because they also inhibit β-cleavage of non-amyloid substrates like Neuregulin. We report that β-secretase has a higher affinity for Neuregulin than it does for APP. Kinetic studies demonstrate that the affinities and catalytic efficiencies of β-secretase are higher toward non-amyloid substrates than toward APP. We show that non-amyloid substrates are processed by β-secretase in an endocytosis-independent manner. Exploiting this compartmentalization of substrates, we specifically target the endosomal β-secretase by an endosomally targeted β-secretase inhibitor, which blocked cleavage of APP but not non-amyloid substrates in many cell systems, including induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons. β-secretase inhibitors can be designed to specifically inhibit the Alzheimer process, enhancing their potential as AD therapeutics without undesired side effects.

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