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Alzheimer's Disease and β-secretase Inhibition: An Update with a Focus on Computer-aided Inhibitor Design

Author(s):

Samuel Ugbaja, Isiaka Lawal, Hezekiel Kumalo and Monsurat Lawal*   Pages 1 - 20 ( 20 )

Abstract:


Introduction: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an intensifying neurodegenerative illness due to its irreversible nature. Identification of β‐site Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) cleaving en-zyme1 (BACE1) has been a significant medicinal focus towards AD treatment, and this has opened ground for several investigations. Despite the numerous works in this direction, no BACE1 inhibitor has made it to the final approval stage as an anti-AD drug.

Methods: We provide an introductory background of the subject with a general overview of the pathogenesis of AD. The review features BACE1 inhibitor design and development with a focus on some clinical trials and discontinued drugs. Using the topical keywords BACE1, inhibitor design, and computational/theoretical study in the Web of Science and Scopus database, we retrieved over 49 relevant articles. The search years are from 2010 and 2020, with analysis conducted from May 2020 to March 2021.

Results and Discussion: Researchers have employed computational methodologies to unravel po-tential BACE1 inhibitors with a significant outcome. The most used computer-aided approach in BACE1 inhibitor design and binding/interaction studies are pharmacophore development, quantita-tive structure-activity relationship (QSAR), virtual screening, docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. These methods, plus more advanced ones including quantum mechan-ics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) and QM, have proven substantial in the computational frame-work for BACE1 inhibitor design. Computational chemists have embraced the incorporation of in vitro assay to provide insight into the inhibition performance of identified molecules with potential inhibition towards BACE1. Significant IC50 values up to 50 nM, better than clinical trial com-pounds, are available in the literature.

Conclusion: The continuous failure of potent BACE1 inhibitors at clinical trials is attracting many queries prompting researchers to investigate newer concepts necessary for effective inhibitor de-sign. The considered properties for efficient BACE1 inhibitor design seem enormous and require thorough scrutiny. Lately, researchers noticed that besides appreciable binding affinity and Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) permeation, BACE1 inhibitor must show low or no affinity for permeability-glycoprotein. Computational modeling methods have profound applications in drug discovery strat-egies. With the volume of recent in silico studies on BACE1 inhibition, the prospect of identifying potent molecules that would reach the approved level is feasible. Investigators should try pushing many of the identified BACE1 compounds with significant anti-AD properties to preclinical and clinical trial stages. We also advise computational research on allosteric inhibitor design, exosite modeling, and multisite inhibition of BACE1. These alternatives might be a solution to BACE1 drug discovery in AD therapy.

Keywords:

β-Secretase, alzheimer's disease (AD), BACE1 inhibition, anti-AD drugs, computer-aided inhibitor design, docking.

Affiliation:

Discipline of Medical Biochemistry, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Applied and Computer Science, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark Campus, Boulevard, 1900, Vanderbijlpark, Discipline of Medical Biochemistry, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, Discipline of Medical Biochemistry, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001



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