Summary: Researchers reveal a possible new method to help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common form of dementia. In search for new drugs for AD, the research team, led by Professor Mi Hee Lim of Natural Science at UNIST has developed a metal-based substance that works like a pair of genetic scissors to cut out amyloid-β (Aβ), the hallmark protein of AD.
The study has been featured on the cover of the January 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) and has been also selected as a JACS Spotlight article.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death among in older adults. The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still unknown, but several factors are presumed to be causative agents. Among these, the aggregation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) has been implicated as a contributor to the formation of neuritic plaques, which are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
As therapeutics for AD, Professor Lim suggested a strategy that uses matal-based complexes for reducing the toxicity of the amyloid beta (Aβ). Althought various metal complexs have been suggested as therapeutics for AD, none of them work effectively in vivo.
The research team has found that they can hydrolyze amyloid-beta proteins using a crystal structure, called tetra-N methylated cyclam (TMC). Hydrolysis is the process that uses water molecules to split other molecules apart. The metal-mediated TMC structure uses the external water and cut off the binding of amyloid-beta protein effectively.
In this study, the following four metals (cobalt, nickel, copper and zinc) were placed at the center of the TMC structure. When the double-layered cobalt was added to the center, the hydrolysis activity was at the highest.
The research team reported that the cobalt-based metal complex (Co(II)(TMC)) had the potential to penetrate the blood brain barrier and the hydrolysis activity for nonamyloid protein was low. Moreover, the effects of this substance on the toxicity of amyloid-beta protein were also observed in living cell experiments.
“This material has a high therapeutic potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as it can penetrate the brain-vascular barrier and directly interact with the amyloid-beta protein in the brain,” says Professor Lim.
This study has also attracted attention by the editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “Not only do they develop new materials, but they have been able to propose details of the working principles and experiments that support them,” according to the editor.
“As a scientist, this is such a great honor to know that our recent publication in JACS was highlighted in JACS Spotlights,” says Professor Lim. “This means that our research has not only been recognized as an important research, but also has caused a stir in academia.”
Funding: This study has been conducted in collaboration with Professor Jaeheung Cho of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Professor Kiyoung Park of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Dr. Sun Hee Kim of Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI). It has been also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP).
Source: JooHyeon Heo – UNIST
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to UNIST.
Original Research: Abstract for “Mechanistic Insights into Tunable Metal-Mediated Hydrolysis of Amyloid-β Peptides” by Jeffrey S. Derrick, Jiwan Lee, Shin Jung C. Lee, Yujeong Kim, Eunju Nam, Hyeonwoo Tak, Juhye Kang, Misun Lee, Sun Hee Kim, Kiyoung Park, Jaeheung Cho and Mi Hee Lim in Journal of the American Chemical Society. Published online January 18 2017 doi:10.1021/jacs.6b09681
Mechanistic Insights into Tunable Metal-Mediated Hydrolysis of Amyloid-β Peptides
An amyloidogenic peptide, amyloid-β (Aβ), has been implicated as a contributor to the neurotoxicity of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that continues to present a major socioeconomic burden for our society. Recently, the use of metal complexes capable of cleaving peptides has arisen as an efficient tactic for amyloid management; unfortunately, little has been reported to pursue this strategy. Herein, we report a novel approach to validate the hydrolytic cleavage of divalent metal complexes toward two major isoforms of Aβ (Aβ40 and Aβ42) and tune their proteolytic activity based on the choice of metal centers (M = Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn) which could be correlated to their anti-amyloidogenic properties. Such metal-dependent tunability was facilitated employing a tetra-N-methylated cyclam (TMC) ligand that imparts unique geometric and stereochemical control, which has not been available in previous systems. Co(II)(TMC) was identified to noticeably cleave Aβ peptides and control their aggregation, reporting the first Co(II) complex for such reactivities to the best of our knowledge. Through detailed mechanistic investigations by biochemical, spectroscopic, mass spectrometric, and computational studies, the critical importance of the coordination environment and acidity of the aqua-bound complexes in promoting amide hydrolysis was verified. The biological applicability of Co(II)(TMC) was also illustrated via its potential blood-brain barrier permeability, relatively low cytotoxicity, regulatory capability against toxicity induced by both Aβ40 and Aβ42 in living cells, proteolytic activity with Aβ peptides under biologically relevant conditions, and inertness toward cleavage of structured proteins. Overall, our approaches and findings on reactivities of divalent metal complexes toward Aβ, along with the mechanistic insights, demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing such metal complexes for amyloid control.
“Mechanistic Insights into Tunable Metal-Mediated Hydrolysis of Amyloid-β Peptides” by Jeffrey S. Derrick, Jiwan Lee, Shin Jung C. Lee, Yujeong Kim, Eunju Nam, Hyeonwoo Tak, Juhye Kang, Misun Lee, Sun Hee Kim, Kiyoung Park, Jaeheung Cho and Mi Hee Lim in Journal of the American Chemical Society. Published online January 18 2017 doi:10.1021/jacs.6b09681