New Directions for Neurodegenerative Disease Therapy: Using Chemical Compounds to Boost the Formation of Mutant Protein Inclusions
Volume 5, Issue 14
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July 15, 2006
Pages 1477 - 1480http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.5.14.2929
Authors: Ruth A. Bodner, David E. Housman and Aleksey G. Kazantsev View affiliations
Neurodegenerative disease such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s
diseases are marked by neuronal accumulation of toxic misfolded protein. Developing
therapies for these misfolding diseases requires finding chemical compounds that can
either clear toxic misfolded protein, or can protect neurons from their impact. Such
compounds could not only provide the starting points for potential drugs, but could also
provide valuable research tools for untangling the complexities of the disease process.
Until now, chemical screens for these diseases have focused on finding compounds
that prevent aggregation of mutant protein. We recently published a compound, B2,
which promotes the formation of large inclusions by mutant Huntingtin and α-synuclein,
while rescuing some of the toxic effects of these proteins. As inclusions were long
believed to be toxic to cells, this contradicts previous therapeutic approaches. At the
same time, the results support growing evidence for the protective effects of inclusions.
In this review, we discuss these results, and place them in the context of ongoing
therapeutic discovery efforts for HD and other neurodegenerative diseases.