Small interfering RNA delivery to the neurons near the amyloid plaques for improved treatment of Alzheimer׳s disease.
ABSTRACT: Gene therapy represents a promising treatment for the Alzheimer׳s disease (AD). However, gene delivery specific to brain lesions through systemic administration remains big challenge. In our previous work, we have developed an siRNA nanocomplex able to be specifically delivered to the amyloid plaques through surface modification with both CGN peptide for the blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration and QSH peptide for β-amyloid binding. But, whether the as-designed nanocomplex could indeed improve the gene accumulation in the impaired neuron cells and ameliorate AD-associated symptoms remains further study. Herein, we prepared the nanocomplexes with an siRNA against β-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1), the rate-limiting enzyme of Aβ production, as the therapeutic siRNA of AD. The nanocomplexes exhibited high distribution in the Aβ deposits-enriched hippocampus, especially in the neurons near the amyloid plaques after intravenous administration. In APP/PS1 transgenic mice, the nanocomplexes down-regulated BACE1 in both mRNA and protein levels, as well as Aβ and amyloid plaques to the level of wild-type mice. Moreover, the nanocomplexes significantly increased the level of synaptophysin and rescued memory loss of the AD transgenic mice without hematological or histological toxicity. Taken together, this work presented direct evidences that the design of precise gene delivery to the AD lesions markedly improves the therapeutic outcome.
Project description:The β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1), an essential protease for the generation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, is a major drug target for Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, there is a concern that inhibiting BACE1 could also affect several physiological functions. Here, we show that BACE1 is modified with bisecting N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), a sugar modification highly expressed in brain, and demonstrate that AD patients have higher levels of bisecting GlcNAc on BACE1. Analysis of knockout mice lacking the biosynthetic enzyme for bisecting GlcNAc, GnT-III (Mgat3), revealed that cleavage of Aβ-precursor protein (APP) by BACE1 is reduced in these mice, resulting in a decrease in Aβ plaques and improved cognitive function. The lack of this modification directs BACE1 to late endosomes/lysosomes where it is less colocalized with APP, leading to accelerated lysosomal degradation. Notably, other BACE1 substrates, CHL1 and contactin-2, are normally cleaved in GnT-III-deficient mice, suggesting that the effect of bisecting GlcNAc on BACE1 is selective to APP. Considering that GnT-III-deficient mice remain healthy, GnT-III may be a novel and promising drug target for AD therapeutics.
Project description:The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system has emerged as a powerful technique for correcting genetic disease-causing mutations. However, in vivo gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 remains a major challenge currently limiting its therapeutic application for disease correction. In the present study, we developed novel Cas9/gRNA nanocomplexes that lead to efficient in vivo gene targeting of neurons in the brain. We demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of Cas9-nanocomplexes as therapeutic agents for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by targeting the BACE1 gene. Remarkably, in vivo BACE1 targeting by using Cas9-nanocomplexes results in decreased Aβ42 production and improvement of cognitive decline in an AD mouse model. These results suggest that Cas9-nanocomplexes represent an effective in vivo gene editing platform in the brain, and that this strategy may be applicable to the treatment of a broad range of neurological diseases. Overall design: HEK 293T cell was used for human control and CRISPR/Cas9 nanocomplex (Nano) treated samples. Mouse brain was used for control and CRISPR/Cas9 nanocomplex (Nano) treated samples. For human samples, PCR amplicons of 4 target sites were pooled and sequenced (total 2 samples). For mouse samples, PCR amplicons of 4 target sites were sequenced separately (total 8 samples).
Project description:BACKGROUND:The β-secretase, BACE1, cleaves APP to initiate generation of the β-amyloid peptide, Aβ, that comprises amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reducing BACE1 activity is an attractive therapeutic approach to AD, but complete inhibition of BACE1 could have mechanism-based side-effects as BACE1-/- mice show deficits in axon guidance, myelination, memory, and other neurological processes. Since BACE1+/- mice appear normal there is interest in determining whether 50% reduction in BACE1 is potentially effective in preventing or treating AD. APP transgenic mice heterozygous for BACE1 have decreased Aβ but the extent of reduction varies greatly from study to study. Here we assess the effects of 50% BACE1 reduction on the widely used 5XFAD mouse model of AD. RESULTS:50% BACE1 reduction reduces Aβ42, plaques, and BACE1-cleaved APP fragments in female, but not in male, 5XFAD/BACE1+/- mice. 5XFAD/BACE1+/+ females have higher levels of Aβ42 and steady-state transgenic APP than males, likely caused by an estrogen response element in the transgene Thy-1 promoter. We hypothesize that higher transgenic APP level in female 5XFAD mice causes BACE1 to no longer be in excess over APP so that 50% BACE1 reduction has a significant Aβ42 lowering effect. In contrast, the lower APP level in 5XFAD males allows BACE1 to be in excess over APP even at 50% BACE1 reduction, preventing lowering of Aβ42 in 5XFAD/BACE1+/- males. We also developed and validated a dot blot assay with an Aβ42-selective antibody as an accurate and cost-effective alternative to ELISA for measuring cerebral Aβ42 levels. CONCLUSIONS:50% BACE1 reduction lowers Aβ42 in female 5XFAD mice only, potentially because BACE1 is not in excess over APP in 5XFAD females with higher transgene expression, while BACE1 is in excess over APP in 5XFAD males with lower transgene expression. Our results suggest that greater than 50% BACE1 inhibition might be necessary to significantly lower Aβ, given that BACE1 is likely to be in excess over APP in the human brain. Additionally, in experiments using the 5XFAD mouse model, or other Thy-1 promoter transgenic mice, equal numbers of male and female mice should be used, in order to avoid artifactual gender-related differences.
Project description:β-amyloid protein (Aβ) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Aβ is generated from sequential cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and the γ-secretase complex. Although activation of some protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms such as PKCα and ε has been shown to regulate nonamyloidogenic pathways and Aβ degradation, it is unclear whether other PKC isoforms are involved in APP processing/AD pathogenesis. In this study, we report that increased PKCδ levels correlate with BACE1 expression in the AD brain. PKCδ knockdown reduces BACE1 expression, BACE1-mediated APP processing, and Aβ production. Conversely, overexpression of PKCδ increases BACE1 expression and Aβ generation. Importantly, inhibition of PKCδ by rottlerin markedly reduces BACE1 expression, Aβ levels, and neuritic plaque formation and rescues cognitive deficits in an APP Swedish mutations K594N/M595L/presenilin-1 with an exon 9 deletion-transgenic AD mouse model. Our study indicates that PKCδ plays an important role in aggravating AD pathogenesis, and PKCδ may be a potential target in AD therapeutics.
Project description:Amyloid β (Aβ) damages neurons and triggers microglial inflammatory activation in the Alzheimer disease (AD) brain. BACE1 is the primary enzyme in Aβ generation. Neuroinflammation potentially up-regulates BACE1 expression and increases Aβ production. In Alzheimer amyloid precursor protein-transgenic mice and SH-SY5Y cell models, we specifically knocked out or knocked down gene expression of mapk14, which encodes p38α MAPK, a kinase sensitive to inflammatory and oxidative stimuli. Using immunological and biochemical methods, we observed that reduction of p38α MAPK expression facilitated the lysosomal degradation of BACE1, decreased BACE1 protein and activity, and subsequently attenuated Aβ generation in the AD mouse brain. Inhibition of p38α MAPK also enhanced autophagy. Blocking autophagy by treating cells with 3-methyladenine or overexpressing dominant-negative ATG5 abolished the deficiency of the p38α MAPK-induced BACE1 protein reduction in cultured cells. Thus, our study demonstrates that p38α MAPK plays a critical role in the regulation of BACE1 degradation and Aβ generation in AD pathogenesis.
Project description:Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides play a key role in synaptic damage and memory deficits in the early pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Abnormal accumulation of Aβ at nerve terminals leads to synaptic pathology and ultimately to neurodegeneration. β-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the major neuronal β-secretase for Aβ generation. However, the mechanisms regulating BACE1 distribution in axons and β cleavage of APP at synapses remain largely unknown. Here, we reveal that dynein-Snapin-mediated retrograde transport regulates BACE1 trafficking in axons and APP processing at presynaptic terminals. BACE1 is predominantly accumulated within late endosomes at the synapses of AD-related mutant human APP (hAPP) transgenic (Tg) mice and patient brains. Defective retrograde transport by genetic ablation of snapin in mice recapitulates late endocytic retention of BACE1 and increased APP processing at presynaptic sites. Conversely, overexpressing Snapin facilitates BACE1 trafficking and reduces synaptic BACE1 accumulation by enhancing the removal of BACE1 from distal AD axons and presynaptic terminals. Moreover, elevated Snapin expression via stereotactic hippocampal injections of adeno-associated virus particles in mutant hAPP Tg mouse brains decreases synaptic Aβ levels and ameliorates synapse loss, thus rescuing cognitive impairments associated with hAPP mice. Altogether, our study provides new mechanistic insights into the complex regulation of BACE1 trafficking and presynaptic localization through Snapin-mediated dynein-driven retrograde axonal transport, thereby suggesting a potential approach of modulating Aβ levels and attenuating synaptic deficits in AD.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT β-Site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) trafficking and synaptic localization significantly influence its β secretase activity and amyloid-β (Aβ) production. In AD brains, BACE1 is accumulated within dystrophic neurites, which is thought to augment Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity by Aβ overproduction. However, it remains largely unknown whether axonal transport regulates synaptic APP processing. Here, we demonstrate that Snapin-mediated retrograde transport plays a critical role in removing BACE1 from presynaptic terminals toward the soma, thus reducing synaptic Aβ production. Adeno-associated virus-mediated Snapin overexpression in the hippocampus of mutant hAPP mice significantly decreases synaptic Aβ levels, attenuates synapse loss, and thus rescues cognitive deficits. Our study uncovers a new pathway that controls synaptic APP processing by enhancing axonal BACE1 trafficking, thereby advancing our fundamental knowledge critical for ameliorating Aβ-linked synaptic pathology.
Project description:Amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the formation of polymorphic deposits comprising diffuse and cored plaques. Because diffuse plaques are predominantly observed in cognitively unaffected, amyloid-positive (CU-AP) individuals, pathogenic conversion into cored plaques appears to be critical to AD pathogenesis. Herein, we identified the distinct Aβ species associated with amyloid polymorphism in brain tissue from individuals with sporadic AD (s-AD) and CU-AP. To this end, we interrogated Aβ polymorphism with amyloid conformation-sensitive dyes and a novel in situ MS paradigm for chemical characterization of hyperspectrally delineated plaque morphotypes. We found that maturation of diffuse into cored plaques correlated with increased Aβ1-40 deposition. Using spatial in situ delineation with imaging MS (IMS), we show that Aβ1-40 aggregates at the core structure of mature plaques, whereas Aβ1-42 localizes to diffuse amyloid aggregates. Moreover, we observed that diffuse plaques have increased pyroglutamated Aβx-42 levels in s-AD but not CU-AP, suggesting an AD pathology-related, hydrophobic functionalization of diffuse plaques facilitating Aβ1-40 deposition. Experiments in tgAPPSwe mice verified that, similar to what has been observed in human brain pathology, diffuse deposits display higher levels of Aβ1-42 and that Aβ plaque maturation over time is associated with increases in Aβ1-40. Finally, we found that Aβ1-40 deposition is characteristic for cerebral amyloid angiopathy deposition and maturation in both humans and mice. These results indicate that N-terminal Aβx-42 pyroglutamation and Aβ1-40 deposition are critical events in priming and maturation of pathogenic Aβ from diffuse into cored plaques, underlying neurotoxic plaque development in AD.
Project description:Beta-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme1 (BACE1) catalyzes the rate-limiting step of amyloid-β protein (Aβ) generation, and is considered as a prime target for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In search of a candidate for AD prevention, our efforts exploring the natural BACE1 inhibitor have led to the finding of nobiletin, tangeretin, and sinensetin-representative compounds of polymethoxyflavones (PMFs). Tangeretin exhibited the strongest BACE1 inhibition (IC50, 4.9 × 10-5 M), followed by nobiletin and sinensetin with IC50 values of 5.9 × 10-5 M and 6.3 × 10-5 M, respectively. In addition, all compounds reacted in a non-competitive manner with the substrate. Docking analysis results for complexes with BACE1 indicated that SER10 and THR232 residues of BACE1 hydrogen bonded with two oxygen atoms of tangeretin, while three additional BACE1 residues (ALA157, VAL336 and THR232) interacted with three oxygen atoms of nobiletin. Furthermore, sinensetin formed four hydrogen bonds through nitrogen atoms of TYR71, LYS75, and TRP76, and an oxygen atom of TYR198. Furthermore, the lowest-energy conformations of the most proposed complexes of sinensetin, nobiletin, and tangeretin with BACE1 were -7.2, -7.0, and -6.8 kcal/mol, respectively. Taken together, our results suggest that these polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) might be considered as promising BACE1 inhibitory agents that could lower Aβ production in AD.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder that is associated with the most common type of dementia and is characterized by the presence of deposits of the protein fragment beta‐amyloid (Aβ) in the brain. The natural product mixture of curcuminoids that improves certain defects in innate immune cells of AD patients may selectively enhance Aβ phagocytosis by alteration of gene transcription. In this work, we evaluated the protective effects of curcuminoids in cells from AD patients by investigating the effect of a panel of curcuminoids on NF-kB and BACE1 signaling pathways by gene expression profiling on the clearance of Beta Amyloid (Aβ). Bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDC) showed the most potent protective action to reduce levels of NF‐kB and BACE1, decrease the inflammatory cascade and diminish Aβ aggregates in cells from AD patients. Moreover, mannosylglycoprotein 4-beta-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (MGAT3) and vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene mRNAs were up-regulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from AD patients treated with BDC. BDC treatment impacts both gene expression, such as Mannosyl (Beta‐1,4‐)‐Glycoprotein Beta‐1,4‐N‐Acetylglucosaminyltransferase, Vitamin D and Toll like receptors and Aβ phagocytosis. Down-regulation of BACE1 and NF-kB following administration suggests a method to treat asymptomatic AD patients with selective curcumins as a dietary supplement. Overall design: XX AD paients (codes) were treated with different compounds (YY) and compared to healthy controls with identical treatment.
Project description:The beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is known primarily for its initial cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which ultimately leads to the generation of Aβ peptides. Here, we provide evidence that altered BACE1 levels and activity impact the degradation of Aβ40 and Aβ42 into a common Aβ34 intermediate. Using human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, we show that Aβ34 is elevated in individuals with mild cognitive impairment who later progressed to dementia. Furthermore, Aβ34 levels correlate with the overall Aβ clearance rates in amyloid positive individuals. Using CSF samples from the PREVENT-AD cohort (cognitively normal individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease), we further demonstrate that the Aβ34/Aβ42 ratio, representing Aβ degradation and cortical deposition, associates with pre-clinical markers of neurodegeneration. We propose that Aβ34 represents a marker of amyloid clearance and may be helpful for the characterization of Aβ turnover in clinical samples.