BMD42-2910, a Novel Benzoxazole Derivative, Shows a Potent Anti-prion Activity and Prolongs the Mean Survival in an Animal Model of Prion Disease.
ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative and fatal central nervous system disorders. The pathogenic mechanism involves the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) to an altered scrapie isoform (PrPSc), which accumulates in amyloid deposits in the brain. However, no therapeutic drugs have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials. We previously reported that BMD42-29, a synthetic compound discovered in silico, is a novel anti-prion compound that inhibits the conversion of PrPC to protease K (PK)-resistant PrPSc fragments (PrPres). In the present study, 14 derivatives of BMD42-29 were obtained from BMD42-29 by modifying in the side chain by in silico feedback, with the aim to determine whether they improve anti-prion activity. These derivatives were assessed in a PrPSc-infected cell model and some derivatives were further tested using real timequaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). Among them, BMD42-2910 showed high anti-prion activity at low concentrations in vitro and also no toxic effects in a mouse model. Interestingly, abundant PrPres was reduced in brains of mice infected with prion strain when treated with BMD42- 2910, and the mice survived longer than control mice and even that treated with BMD42-29. Finally, high binding affinity was predicted in the virtual binding sites (Asn159, Gln 160, Lys194, and Glu196) when PrPC was combined with BMD-42-2910. Our findings showed that BMD42-2910 sufficiently reduces PrPres generation in vitro and in vivo and may be a promising novel anti-prion compound.
Project description:Prion diseases are caused by the conversion of physiological PrPC into the pathogenic misfolded protein PrPSc, conferring new properties to PrPSc that vary upon prion strains. In this work, we analyze the thermostability of three prion strains (BSE, RML and 22L) that were heated at 98 °C for 2 hours. PrPSc resistance to proteinase K (PrPres), residual infectivity by mouse bioassay and in vitro templating activity by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) were studied. Heated strains showed a huge loss of PrPres and a radically different infectivity loss: RML was the most thermolabile strain (6 to 7 log10 infectivity loss), followed by 22L (5 log10) while BSE was the most thermostable strain with low or null infectivity reduction showing a clear dissociation between PrPres and infectivity. These results indicate that thermostability is a strain-specific feature, measurable by PMCA and mouse bioassay, and a great tool to distinguish prion strains.
Project description:The conformational conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) into the pathology-associated PrPSc isoform is a key event in TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies). The host PrPC molecule contains two N-linked glycosylation sites and binds copper under physiological conditions. In contrast with PrPC, PrPSc is insoluble in non-ionic detergents and does not bind to Cu2+ ions. Hence, we utilized copper binding to separate and characterize both PrP isoforms. Infected and uninfected murine brain and bovine stem brain specimens were treated with the mild non-ionic detergent n-octyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside (octylglucoside) to maintain the native PrP conformations during isolation. The solubilized homogenates were loaded on to Cu2+-saturated IMAC (immobilized metal affinity chromatography) columns and eluted using the chelating agent EDTA. Fractions were separated by SDS/PAGE and analysed by immunoblotting using anti-PrP monoclonal antibodies for glycosylation profiling. Whereas native PrPC and denatured PrPSc were retained by a Cu2+-loaded resin, native PrPSc and PrPres [PK (proteinase K)-resistant PrP] passed through the column. We demonstrate here that the IMAC technique is appropriate to isolate and partially purify PrPC from healthy brains in its native-like and biologically relevant glycosylated copper-binding forms. The IMAC technique is also well suited for the separation of native PrPC from aggregated PrPSc in infected brains. Our results indicate that in contrast with PrPSc in uninfected as well as infected brains, PrPC is predominantly present in the glycosylated forms.
Project description:Phenotypic variability in prion diseases, such as scrapie, is associated to the existence of prion strains, which are different pathogenic prion protein (PrPSc) conformations with distinct pathobiological properties. To faithfully study scrapie strain variability in natural sheep isolates, transgenic mice expressing sheep cellular prion protein (PrPC) are used. In this study, we used two of such models to bioassay 20 scrapie isolates from the Spain-France-Andorra transboundary territory. Animals were intracerebrally inoculated and survival periods, proteinase K-resistant PrP (PrPres) banding patterns, lesion profiles and PrPSc distribution were studied. Inocula showed a remarkable homogeneity on banding patterns, all of them but one showing 19-kDa PrPres. However, a number of isolates caused accumulation of 21-kDa PrPres in TgShp XI. A different subgroup of isolates caused long survival periods and presence of 21-kDa PrPres in Tg338 mice. It seemed that one major 19-kDa prion isoform and two distinct 21-kDa variants coexisted in source inocula, and that they could be separated by bioassay in each transgenic model. The reason why each model favours a specific component of the mixture is unknown, although PrPC expression level may play a role. Our results indicate that coinfection with more than one substrain is more frequent than infection with a single component.
Project description:Prion propagation is mediated by the structural alteration of normal prion protein (PrPC) to generate pathogenic prion protein (PrPSc). To date, compounds for the inhibition of prion propagation have mainly been screened using PrPSc-infected cells. Real time-quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is one alternative screening method. In this study, we assessed the propagation inhibition effects of known anti-prion compounds using RT-QuIC and compared the results with those from a PrPSc-infected cell assay. Compounds were applied to RT-QuIC reactions at 0 h or 22 h after prion propagation to determine whether they inhibited propagation or reduced amplified aggregates. RT-QuIC reactions in presence of acridine, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), and tannic acid inhibited seeded aggregation with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at 0 h. After treatment at 22 h, amplified fluorescence was decreased in wells treated with either acridine or tannic acid. Compound activities were verified by western blot of RT-QuIC products and in a dye-independent conversion assay, the Multimer Detection System. Protease K-resistant PrPSc fragments (PrPres) were reduced by DSS and tannic acid in the PrPSc-infected cell assay. Importantly, these inhibitory effects were similar despite different treatment times (0 h versus 3 days). Consequentially, RT-QuIC enabled the more specific classification of compounds according to action (i.e., inhibition of prion propagation versus reduction of amplified aggregates). RT-QuIC addresses the limitations of cell-based screening methods and can be used to further aid our understanding of the mechanisms of action of anti-prion compounds.
Project description:Prion diseases are associated with the conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrPC), a glycoprotein expressed at the surface of a wide variety of cell types, into a misfolded conformer (the scrapie form of PrP, or PrPSc) that accumulates in brain tissues of affected individuals. PrPSc is a self-catalytic protein assembly capable of recruiting native conformers of PrPC, and causing their rearrangement into new PrPSc molecules. Several previous attempts to identify therapeutic agents against prion diseases have targeted PrPSc, and a number of compounds have shown potent anti-prion effects in experimental models. Unfortunately, so far, none of these molecules has successfully been translated into effective therapies for prion diseases. Moreover, mounting evidence suggests that PrPSc might be a difficult pharmacological target because of its poorly defined structure, heterogeneous composition, and ability to generate different structural conformers (known as prion strains) that can elude pharmacological intervention. In the last decade, a less intuitive strategy to overcome all these problems has emerged: targeting PrPC, the common substrate of any prion strain replication. This alternative approach possesses several technical and theoretical advantages, including the possibility of providing therapeutic effects also for other neurodegenerative disorders, based on recent observations indicating a role for PrPC in delivering neurotoxic signals of different misfolded proteins. Here, we provide an overview of compounds claimed to exert anti-prion effects by directly binding to PrPC, discussing pharmacological properties and therapeutic potentials of each chemical class.
Project description:The conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) to the misfolded pathogenic scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) is the biochemical hallmark of prion replication. So far, various chemical compounds that inhibit this conformational conversion have been identified. Here, we report the novel anti-prion activity of SGI-1027 and its meta/meta analogue (M/M), previously known only as potent inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). These compounds effectively decreased the level of PrPSc in cultured cells with permanent prion infection, without affecting PrPC at the transcriptional or translational levels. Furthermore, SGI-1027 prevented effective prion infection of the cells. In a PrP aggregation assay, both SGI-1027 and M/M blocked the formation of misfolded PrP aggregates, implying that binding of these compounds hinders the PrP conversion process. A series of binding and docking analyses demonstrated that both SGI-1027 and M/M directly interacted with the C-terminal globular domain of PrPC, but only SGI-1027 bound to a specific region of PrPC with high affinity, which correlates with its potent anti-prion efficacy. Therefore, we report SGI-1027 and related compounds as a novel class of potential anti-prion agents that preferentially function through direct interaction with PrPC.
Project description:Conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into the abnormally folded isoform, PrPSc, is a key pathogenic event in prion diseases. However, the exact conversion mechanism remains largely unknown. Transgenic mice expressing PrP with a deletion of the central residues 91-106 were generated in the absence of endogenous PrPC, designated Tg(PrP?91-106)/Prnp0/0 mice and intracerebrally inoculated with various prions. Tg(PrP?91-106)/Prnp0/0 mice were resistant to RML, 22L and FK-1 prions, neither producing PrPSc?91-106 or prions in the brain nor developing disease after inoculation. However, they remained marginally susceptible to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prions, developing disease after elongated incubation times and accumulating PrPSc?91-106 and prions in the brain after inoculation with BSE prions. Recombinant PrP?91-104 converted into PrPSc?91-104 after incubation with BSE-PrPSc-prions but not with RML- and 22L-PrPSc-prions, in a protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay. However, digitonin and heparin stimulated the conversion of PrP?91-104 into PrPSc?91-104 even after incubation with RML- and 22L-PrPSc-prions. These results suggest that residues 91-106 or 91-104 of PrPC are crucially involved in prion pathogenesis in a strain-dependent manner and may play a similar role to digitonin and heparin in the conversion of PrPC into PrPSc.
Project description:Prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, and scrapie in sheep are fatal neurodegenerative diseases for which there is no effective treatment. The pathology of these diseases involves the conversion of a protease sensitive form of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a protease resistant infectious form (PrPsc or PrPres). Both in vitro (cell culture and cell free conversion assays) and in vivo (animal) studies have demonstrated the strong dependence of this conversion process on protein sequence homology between the initial prion inoculum and the host's own cellular prion protein. The presence of non-homologous (heterologous) proteins is often inhibitory to this conversion process. We hypothesize that the presence of heterologous prion proteins from one species might therefore constitute an effective treatment for prion disease in another species. To test this hypothesis, we infected mice intracerebrally with murine adapted RML-Chandler scrapie and treated them with heterologous prion protein (purified bacterially expressed recombinant hamster prion protein) or vehicle alone. Treated animals demonstrated reduced disease associated pathology, decreased accumulation of protease-resistant disease-associated prion protein, with delayed onset of clinical symptoms and motor deficits. This was concomitant with significantly increased survival times relative to mock-treated animals. These results provide proof of principle that recombinant hamster prion proteins can effectively and safely inhibit prion disease in mice, and suggest that hamster or other non-human prion proteins may be a viable treatment for prion diseases in humans.
Project description:Prions are infectious proteins composed of the abnormal disease-causing isoform PrPSc, which induces conformational conversion of the host-encoded normal cellular prion protein PrPC to additional PrPSc. The mechanism underlying prion strain mutation in the absence of nucleic acids remains unresolved. Additionally, the frequency of strains causing chronic wasting disease (CWD), a burgeoning prion epidemic of cervids, is unknown. Using susceptible transgenic mice, we identified two prevalent CWD strains with divergent biological properties but composed of PrPSc with indistinguishable biochemical characteristics. Although CWD transmissions indicated stable, independent strain propagation by elk PrPC, strain coexistence in the brains of deer and transgenic mice demonstrated unstable strain propagation by deer PrPC. The primary structures of deer and elk prion proteins differ at residue 226, which, in concert with PrPSc conformational compatibility, determines prion strain mutation in these cervids.
Project description:Prion diseases are infectious and fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting humans and animals. Transmission is possible within and between species with zoonotic potential. Currently, no prophylaxis or treatment exists. Prions are composed of the misfolded isoform PrPSc of the cellular prion protein PrPC. Expression of PrPC is a prerequisite for prion infection, and conformational conversion of PrPC is induced upon its direct interaction with PrPSc. Inhibition of this interaction can abrogate prion propagation, and we have previously established peptide aptamers (PAs) binding to PrPC as new anti-prion compounds. Here, we mapped the interaction site of PA8 in PrP and modeled the complex in silico to design targeted mutations in PA8 which presumably enhance binding properties. Using these PA8 variants, we could improve PA-mediated inhibition of PrPSc replication and de novo infection of neuronal cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that binding of PA8 and its variants increases PrPC α-cleavage and interferes with its internalization. This gives rise to high levels of the membrane-anchored PrP-C1 fragment, a transdominant negative inhibitor of prion replication. PA8 and its variants interact with PrPC at its central and most highly conserved domain, a region which is crucial for prion conversion and facilitates toxic signaling of Aβ oligomers characteristic for Alzheimer's disease. Our strategy allows for the first time to induce α-cleavage, which occurs within this central domain, independent of targeting the responsible protease. Therefore, interaction of PAs with PrPC and enhancement of α-cleavage represent mechanisms that can be beneficial for the treatment of prion and other neurodegenerative diseases.