Structural basis of small molecule targetability of monomeric tau protein


Kiss, R., Csizmadia, G., Solti, K., et al.

ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2018, vol:9(12), 2997-3006 doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00182


The therapeutic targeting of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) by small molecules has been a challenge due to their heterogeneous conformational ensembles. A potential therapeutic strategy to alleviate the aggregation of IDPs is to maintain them in their native monomeric state by small molecule binding. This study investigates the structural basis of small molecule druggability of native monomeric Tau whose aggregation is linked to the onset of Tauopathies such as Alzheimer’s disease. Initially, two available monomeric conformational ensembles of a shorter Tau construct K18 (also termed Tau4RD) were analyzed which revealed striking structural differences between the two ensembles, while similar number of hot spots and small molecule binding sites were identified on monomeric Tau ensembles as on tertiary folded proteins of similar size. Remarkably, some critical fibril forming sequence regions of Tau (V306–K311, V275–K280) participated in hot spot formation with higher frequency compared to other regions. As an example of small molecule binding to monomeric Tau, it was shown that methylene blue (MB) bound to monomeric K18 and full-length Tau selectively with high affinity (Kd = 125.8 nM and 86.6 nM, respectively) with binding modes involving Cys291 and Cys322, previously reported to be oxidized in the presence of MB. Overall, our results provide structure-based evidence that Tau can be a viable drug target for small molecules and indicate that specific small molecules may be able to bind to monomeric Tau and influence the way in which the protein interacts among itself and with other proteins.

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Topics: Neurodegenerative diseases, Monolith – MicroScale Thermophoresis, MST,  Publications



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