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Identification of High-affinity Small Molecules Targeting Gamma Secretase for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Background: Alzheimers Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease which is characterized by the deposition of amyloid plaques in the brain- a concept supported by most of the researchers worldwide. The main component of the plaques being amyloid-beta (Aβ42) results from the sequential cleavage of Amyloid precursor protein (APP) by beta and gamma secretase. This present study intends to inhibit the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the action of gamma secretase protein with Inhibitors (GSI).

Methods: A number of Gamma Secretase Inhibitors (GSI) were targeted to the protein by molecular docking. The inhibitor having the best affinity was used as a subject for further virtual screening methods to obtain similar compounds. The generated compounds were docked again at the same docking site on the protein to find a compound with higher affinity to inhibit the protein. The highlights of virtually screened compound consisted of Pharmacophore Mapping of the docking site. These steps were followed by comparative assessments for both the compounds, obtained from the two aforesaid docking studies, which included interaction energy descriptors, ADMET profiling and PreADMET evaluations.

Results: 111 GSI classified as azepines, sulfonamides and peptide isosteres were used in the study. By molecular docking an amorpholino-amide, compound (22), was identified to be the high affinity compound GSI along with its better interaction profiles.The virtually screened pubchem compound AKOS001083915 (CID:24462213) shows the best affinity with gamma secretase. Collective Pharmacophore mapping (H bonds, electrostatic profile, binding pattern and solvent accesibility) shows a stable interaction. The resulting ADMETand Descriptor values were nearly equivalent.

Conclusion: These compounds identified herein hold a potential as Gamma Secretase inhibitors.According to PreADMET values the compound AKOS001083915 is effective and specific to the target protein. Its BOILED-egg plot analysis infers the compound permeable to blood brain barrier.Comparative study for both the compounds resulted in having nearly equivalent properties. These compounds have the capacity to inhibit the protein which is indirectly responsible for the formation of amyloid plaques and can be further put to in vitro pharmacokinetic and dynamic studies.
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Keywords: ADMET; Alzheimer's diseases; Drug designing; Gamma-secretase inhibitors; Molecular docking; Virtual screening

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

This article was made available online on June 25, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Identification of High-affinity Small Molecules Targeting Gamma Secretase for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease".

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