Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 19, 2008

Alternative pathways for production of β-amyloid peptides of Alzheimer's disease

Vivian Hook, Israel Schechter, Hans-Ulrich Demuth and Gregory Hook
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Abstract

This highlight article describes three Alzheimer's disease (AD) studies presented at the 5th General Meeting of the International Proteolysis Society that address enzymatic mechanisms for producing neurotoxic β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides. One group described the poor kinetics of BACE 1 for cleaving the wild-type (WT) β-secretase site of APP found in most AD patients. They showed that cathepsin D displays BACE 1-like specificity and cathepsin D is 280-fold more abundant in human brain than BACE 1. Nevertheless, as BACE 1 and cathepsin D show poor activity towards the WT β-secretase site, they suggested continuing the search for additional β-secretase(s). The second group reported cathepsin B as an alternative β-secretase possessing excellent kinetic efficiency and specificity for the WT β-secretase site. Significantly, inhibitors of cathepsin B improved memory, with reduced amyloid plaques and decreased Aβ(40/42) in brains of AD animal models expressing amyloid precursor protein containing the WT β-secretase site. The third group addressed isoaspartate and pyroglutamate (pGlu) posttranslational modifications of Aβ. Results showed that cathepsin B, but not BACE 1, efficiently cleaves the WT β-secretase isoaspartate site. Furthermore, cyclization of N-terminal Glu by glutaminyl cyclase generates highly amyloidogenic pGluAβ(3–40/42). These presentations suggest cathepsin B and glutaminyl cyclase as potential new AD therapeutic targets.


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Published Online: 2008-08-19
Published in Print: 2008-08-01

©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York