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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • lipid rafts;
  • membranes;
  • peptide synthesis;
  • beta-secretase inhibition

Abstract

Covalent coupling of β-secretase inhibitors to a raftophilic lipid anchor via a suitable spacer by using solid-phase peptide synthesis leads to tripartite structures displaying substantially improved inhibition of cellular secretion of the β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). Herein, we describe a series of novel tripartite structures, their full characterization by NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, and the analysis of their biological activity in cell-based assays. The tripartite structure concept is applicable to different pharmacophores, and the potency in terms of β-secretase inhibition can be optimized by adjusting the spacer length to achieve an optimal distance of the inhibitor from the lipid bilayer. A tripartite structure containing a transition-state mimic inhibitor was found to be less potent on Aβ generation from Swedish-mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) than from the wild-type protein. Moreover, our observations suggest that specific variants of Aβ are generated from wild-type APP but not from Swedish-mutant APP and are resistant to β-secretase inhibition. Efficient inhibition of Aβ secretion by tripartite structures in the absence of appreciable neurotoxicity was confirmed in a primary neuronal cell culture, thus further supporting the concept.