Attenuated Aβ42 responses to low potency γ-secretase modulators can be overcome for many pathogenic presenilin mutants by second-generation compounds
J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 29;286(17):15240-51. Epub 2011 Feb 25.
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Sequential processing of the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretase generates the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), which is widely believed to play a causative role in Alzheimer ′s disease (AD). Selective lowering of the pathogenic 42 amino acid variant of Aβ by γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) is a promising therapeutic strategy. Here we report that mutations in presenilin (PS), the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase, display differential responses to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-type GSMs and more potent second-generation compounds. While many pathogenic PS mutations resisted lowering of Aβ42 generation by the NSAID sulindac sulfide, the potent NSAID-like second-generation compound GSM-1 was capable of lowering Aβ42 for many but not all mutants. We further found that mutations at homologous positions in PS1 and PS2 can elicit differential Aβ42 responses to GSM-1 suggesting that a positive GSM-1 response depends on the spatial environment in γ-secretase. The aggressive pathogenic PS1 L166P mutation was one of the few pathogenic mutations that resisted GSM-1, and L166 was identified as a critical residue with respect to the Aβ42-lowering response of GSM-1. Finally, we found that GSM-1 responsive and resistant PS mutants behave very similarly towards other potent second-generation compounds of different structural class than GSM-1. Taken together, our data show that a positive Aβ42 response for PS mutants depends both on the particular mutation and the GSM used, and that attenuated Aβ42 responses to low potency GSMs can be overcome for many PS mutants by second generation GSMs.