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Current Alzheimer Research


ISSN (Print): 1567-2050
ISSN (Online): 1875-5828

Identification of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Tau Aggregation by Targeting Monomeric Tau As a Potential Therapeutic Approach for Tauopathies

Author(s): Marcus Pickhardt, Thomas Neumann, Daniel Schwizer, Kari Callaway, Michele Vendruscolo, Dale Schenk, Peter St. George-Hyslop, Eva M. Mandelkow, Christopher M. Dobson, Lisa McConlogue, Eckhard Mandelkow and Gergely Toth

Volume 12, Issue 9, 2015

Page: [814 - 828] Pages: 15

DOI: 10.2174/156720501209151019104951

open access plus


A potential strategy to alleviate the aggregation of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) is to maintain the native functional state of the protein by small molecule binding. However, the targeting of the native state of IDPs by small molecules has been challenging due to their heterogeneous conformational ensembles. To tackle this challenge, we applied a high-throughput chemical microarray surface plasmon resonance imaging screen to detect the binding between small molecules and monomeric full-length Tau, a protein linked with the onset of a range of Tauopathies. The screen identified a novel set of drug-like fragment and lead-like compounds that bound to Tau. We verified that the majority of these hit compounds reduced the aggregation of different Tau constructs in vitro and in N2a cells. These results demonstrate that Tau is a viable receptor of drug-like small molecules. The drug discovery approach that we present can be applied to other IDPs linked to other misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, drug discovery, high throughput screening, inhibitor, protein aggregation, tau, taupathies, therapeutic.

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