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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 30;277(35):31499-505. Epub 2002 Jun 18.

Linear non-competitive inhibition of solubilized human gamma-secretase by pepstatin A methylester, L685458, sulfonamides, and benzodiazepines.

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Department of Lead Discovery, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, Delaware 19850, USA.


Cerebral deposition of amyloid beta-protein (A beta) is believed to play a key role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Because A beta is produced from the processing of amyloid beta-protein precursor (APP) by beta- and gamma-secretases, these enzymes are considered important therapeutic targets for identification of drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease. Unlike beta-secretase, which is a monomeric aspartyl protease, gamma-secretase activity resides as part of a membrane-bound, high molecular weight, macromolecular complex. Pepstatin and L685458 are among several structural classes of gamma-secretase inhibitors identified so far. These compounds possess a hydroxyethylene dipeptide isostere of aspartyl protease transition state analogs, suggesting gamma-secretase may be an aspartyl protease. However, the mechanism of inhibition of gamma-secretase by pepstatin and L685458 has not been elucidated. In this study, we report that pepstatin A methylester and L685458 unexpectedly displayed linear non-competitive inhibition of gamma-secretase. Sulfonamides and benzodiazepines, which do not resemble transition state analogs of aspartyl proteases, also displayed potent, non-competitive inhibition of gamma-secretase. Models to rationalize how transition state analogs inhibit their targets by non-competitive inhibition are discussed.

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