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Translational Neuroscience

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Modulators of amyloid protein aggregation and toxicity: EGCG and CLR01

Aida Attar
  • Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, USA
  • Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, USA
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/ Farid Rahimi
  • Research School of Biology, College of Medicine, Biology, and Environment, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia
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/ Gal Bitan
  • Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, USA
  • Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, USA
  • Molecular Biology Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, USA
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Published Online: 2013-12-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13380-013-0137-y


Abnormal protein folding and self-assembly causes over 30 cureless human diseases for which no disease-modifying therapies are available. The common side to all these diseases is formation of aberrant toxic protein oligomers and amyloid fibrils. Both types of assemblies are drug targets, yet each presents major challenges to drug design, discovery, and development. In this review, we focus on two small molecules that inhibit formation of toxic amyloid protein assemblies — the green-tea derivative (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which was identified through a combination of epidemiologic data and a compound library screen, and the molecular tweezer CLR01, whose inhibitory activity was discovered in our group based on rational reasoning, and subsequently confirmed experimentally. Both compounds act in a manner that is not specific to one particular protein and thus are useful against a multitude of amyloidogenic proteins, yet they act via distinct putative mechanisms. CLR01 disrupts protein aggregation through specific binding to lysine residues, whereas the mechanisms underlying the activity of EGCG are only recently beginning to unveil. We discuss current in vitro and, where available, in vivo literature related to EGCG and CLR01’s effects on amyloid β-protein, α-synuclein, transthyretin, islet amyloid polypeptide, and calcitonin. We also describe the toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and mechanism of action of each compound.

Keywords: Amyloid; Amyloidosis; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Inhibitor; Molecular tweezers; Polyphenol

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-20

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Translational Neuroscience, Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages 385–409, ISSN (Online) 2081-6936, ISSN (Print) 2081-3856, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13380-013-0137-y.

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