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J Biol Chem. 2007 Aug 24;282(34):24504-13. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Insensitivity to Abeta42-lowering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gamma-secretase inhibitors is common among aggressive presenilin-1 mutations.

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Emmy Noether Research Group, Mainz, Germany.


Abeta42-lowering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) constitute the founding members of a new class of gamma-secretase modulators that avoid side effects of pan-gamma-secretase inhibitors on NOTCH processing and function, holding promise as potential disease-modifying agents for Alzheimer disease (AD). These modulators are active in cell-free gamma-secretase assays indicating that they directly target the gamma-secretase complex. Additional support for this hypothesis was provided by the observation that certain mutations in presenilin-1 (PS1) associated with early-onset familial AD (FAD) change the cellular drug response to Abeta42-lowering NSAIDs. Of particular interest is the PS1-DeltaExon9 mutation, which provokes a pathogenic increase in the Abeta42/Abeta40 ratio and dramatically reduces the cellular response to the Abeta42-lowering NSAID sulindac sulfide. This FAD PS1 mutant is unusual as a splice-site mutation results in deletion of amino acids Thr(291)-Ser(319) including the endoproteolytic cleavage site of PS1, and an additional amino acid exchange (S290C) at the exon 8/10 splice junction. By genetic dissection of the PS1-DeltaExon9 mutation, we now demonstrate that a synergistic effect of the S290C mutation and the lack of endoproteolytic cleavage is sufficient to elevate the Abeta42/Abeta40 ratio and that the attenuated response to sulindac sulfide results partially from the deficiency in endoproteolysis. Importantly, a wider screen revealed that a diminished response to Abeta42-lowering NSAIDs is common among aggressive FAD PS1 mutations. Surprisingly, these mutations were also partially unresponsive to gamma-secretase inhibitors of different structural classes. This was confirmed in a mouse model with transgenic expression of the PS1-L166P mutation, in which the potent gamma-secretase inhibitor LY-411575 failed to reduce brain levels of soluble Abeta42. In summary, these findings highlight the importance of genetic background in drug discovery efforts aimed at gamma-secretase, suggesting that certain AD mouse models harboring aggressive PS mutations may not be informative in assessing in vivo effects of gamma-secretase modulators and inhibitors.

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