The Multifunctional Dopamine D/D Receptor Agonists Also Possess Inhibitory Activity Against the Full-Length Tau441 Protein Aggregation

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Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry

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Neurodegeneration leads to variety of diseases which are linked to aberrant protein or peptide aggregation, as a one possible mechanism. Hence, small drug molecules targeting aggregation are of interest. Tau protein aggregation is one of the biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases and is a viable drug target. Toward multifunctional inhibitors, we aim to incorporate structural elements in a potential drug in order to preserve dopamine agonist activity, which elevates disease symptoms associated with motor skills, and promote inhibitory activity against aggregation of the full-length tau (2N4R, tau441) protein. In our design, we introduced various moieties (catechol, non-catechol, biphenyl, piperazine, and thiazole) to determine which functional group leads to the greatest aggregation inhibition of tau. In vitro, tau aggregation was induced by heparin and monitored by using fluorescence aggregation assay, transmission electron microscopy and 4,4'-Dianilino-1,1'-binaphthyl-5,5'-disulfonic acid dipotassium salt (Bis-ANS) fluorescence spectroscopy. The catechol containing compounds, D-519 and D-520, prevented aggregation of tau. By contrast, non-catechol and thiazole containing compounds (D-264 and D-636) were poor inhibitors. The Bis-ANS studies revealed that the potent inhibitors bound solvent-exposed hydrophobic sites. Based on the density functional theory calculations on inhibitors tested, the compounds characterized with the high polarity and polarizability were more effective aggregation inhibitors. These findings could lead to the development of small multifunctional drug inhibitors for the treatment of tau-associated neurodegeneration.


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