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Crystal form of the amyloid precursor protein intracellular domain (AICD) in complex with human FE65-PTB2

Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 23 Sep '14

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

The present invention relates to a three-dimensional structure of the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) in complex with human Fe65-PTB2 (i.e. a protein-complex comprising the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) and the human Fe65-PTB2), as well as to methods and uses of said three-dimensional structure for identifying ligands which modify the interaction between the AICD and the Fe65-PTB2. Moreover, the present invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions which contain one or more of such identified ligands for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

Description

The present invention relates to a three-dimensional structure of the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) in complex with human Fe65-PTB2 (i.e. a protein-complex comprising the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) and the human Fe65-PTB2), as well as to methods and uses of said three-dimensional structure for identifying ligands which modify the interaction between the AICD and the Fe65-PTB2. Moreover, the present invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions which contain one or more of such identified ligands for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder and the major cause of senile dementia in the present world especially in the elder population. Worldwide approximately 18 million people are affected and it is predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that this number will nearly double until the year 2025. The immense number of people requiring steady care will severely burden medical, monetary, and human resources especially in the light of the increasing generation gap.

Pathologically, AD is characterized by the formation of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain accompanied by a substantial neuronal and synaptic loss in the neocortex, which is likely to represent the main reason for cognitive impairment in AD. However, the underlying mechanisms are complex and remain still unclear. Strong biochemical and genetic evidence support the hypothesis that accumulation of the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), the main constituent of senile plaques is a central event in AD pathogenesis. Aβ formation results from sequential cleavage of its precursor protein (APP) an integral and ubiquitously expressed type I transmembrane protein by the β-site cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and the γ-secretase complex. Aβ has been shown to be neurotoxic with pro-apoptotic effects.

As a consequence of the γ-secretase cleavage (ε-cleavage) the C-terminal 49-50 amino acids intracellular domain of APP (AICD or C49-50, respectively) is liberated into the cytosol. Many of the identified binding partners of APP interact with the AICD modulating transport and signaling events. The AICD can be further proteolytically cleaved by caspases at residue D664 (residue numbering in the following corresponds to the neuronal APP spliceform APP695) by caspases generating a strong neurotoxic peptide comprising the C-terminal 31 amino acids (AICD-C31) of APP, that could be linked to increased synaptic loss and apoptotic cell death in Alzheimer's disease.

Both the AICD and the AICD-C31 are natively unstructured when not bound to a binding partner. They contain the highly conserved Y682ENPTY motif where several adaptor proteins like members of the Fe65, X11 18, Jip and Shc families, the Notch inhibitor Numb, and mammalian disabled (mDab) bind via their phosphotyrosine binding domains (PTB). Additionally, AICD contains the basolateral sorting signal Y653TSI which was shown to interact with the microtubule-interacting protein PAT1.

The APP-interacting protein that has generated the most interest is Fe65, since knock-out studies in worms and mice resulted in phenotypes strikingly similar to those seen when APP genes were knocked-out, emphasizing the close functional relationship between both proteins. Fe65 is a brain enriched adaptor protein important for brain development containing one WW domain and two PTB domains. The N-terminal located PTB domain (PTB1) has been shown to interact with a variety of proteins involved in translocation and nuclear signaling of APP, while the C-terminal PTB domain (PTB2) binds to the AICD of APP and the other two members of the APP family (APLP 1 and 2). Binding of Fe65 to the AICD influences APP processing and Aβ generation.

The AICD contains eight putative phosphorylation sites with seven of them being phosphorylated in AD brains. The most important and also brain limited phosphorylation mediated by several kinases occurs at threonine T668.

Phosphorylation of T668 is a normal process linked to neurite extension, anterograde transport of vesicular cargo, nuclear signaling, and regulation of Fe65 binding. In contrast, increased phosphorylation of APP is a pathological trait of AD as it facilitates BACE1 cleavage of APP and increases Aβ generation. Within the Y682ENPTY motif only the phosphorylation of Y682 is known to play a role as it facilitates binding of ShcA, ShcC, and Grb2 to APP. The classical PTB-interacting phosphorylation site (Y687) is not used in APP.

Since the interaction of the human adaptor protein Fe65 with the amyloid precursor protein intracellular domain (AICD) plays a key role in the accumulation of the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in cerebral plaques, the modification of the interaction between said AICD and Fe65, in particular Fe65-PTB2, is likely to prevent or at least reduce the formation of such plaques. However, for identification and/or development of effective ligands the exact mode of interaction between AICD and Fe65 needs to be determined.

Therefore, the technical problem underlying the present invention is to provide a new system on the molecular/atomic level, which is suited to elucidate the binding mode between AICD and Fe65 and to enable the identification and/or development of ligands which negatively or positively affect the interaction between both AICD and Fe65.

The above-mentioned technical problem is solved by providing the embodiments characterized in the claims.

In particular, there is provided a protein-complex comprising the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) and the human Fe65-PTB2 (i.e. a three-dimensional structure of AICD of APP695 in complex with human Fe65-PTB2), or at least those parts thereof which characterize the interaction between the AICD and the Fe65-PTB2.

The expression “three-dimensional structure” as used according to the present invention is not especially restricted and generally relates to the molecular geometry which may for example be understood as the spatial arrangement of atoms in one or more molecules and the bonds between the atoms, such as covalent, ionic, hydrogen bridge or van-der-Waals bonds. Moreover, said expression “three-dimensional structure” further includes images of said structure, such as computer-generated images showing the structural arrangements of atoms, bonds, electronic surfaces, hydrophilic/hydrophobic surfaces, or combinations thereof.

The term “AICD” as used herein is not only limited to the complete intracellular domain of the APP, i.e. the C-terminal 49-50 amino acids of said APP, but also further includes fragments thereof such as the neurotoxic fragment AICD-C31 which comprises the 31 C-terminal amino acids of the APP.

The term “Fe65-PTB2” as used in the present invention is not only limited to the C-terminal phosphotyrosine binding domain of human Fe65 (PTB2) but may also include other components of Fe65 such as the binding domains PTB1 or WW, as long as the PTB2 domain or a fragment thereof capable of interacting with AICD, is present.

According to the present invention, the molecules “AICD” and “Fe65” further include additional moieties bound thereto or in complex therewith, such as marker or linker molecules, molecules affecting purification or crystallization, or molecules which improve the biocompatibility. Examples of such molecules are fluorescent or radioactive markers, purification tags such as His-tags, heavy atoms for improved electron density in crystallization experiments, salts, sugars, or amino acid and nucleic acid residues.

Furthermore, herein, the term “interaction” means any kind of action that occurs as two or more independent entities have an effect upon one another. For example, the term “interaction” includes attractive and repulsive effects between two or more molecules.

Another embodiment of the present invention relates to the three-dimensional structure as defined above, wherein the AICD comprises an amino acid sequence having at least 40%, preferably 60%, and more preferably 80% identity with the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1, and the human Fe65-PTB2 comprises an amino acid sequence having at least 40%, preferably 60%, and more preferably 80% identity with the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2.

According to the present invention, the expression “at least 40% identity” refers to sequences which are least 40% identical with the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NOs: 1 and/or 2, as long as the deviation from said sequences of SEQ ID NOs: 1 and/or 2 does not eliminate the interaction between AICD and Fe65-PTB2. Furthermore, minor sequence modifications such as addition, deletion or substitution of one or more amino acid(s) are also included herein, as long as said modifications do not qualitatively alter the binding properties of AICD and Fe65-PTB2. The same definition applies for the expressions “preferably 60% identity” and “more preferably 80% identity” as mentioned above.

According to another aspect, the present invention relates to a three-dimensional structure as defined above, comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 1, or at least those parts thereof which characterize the interaction between AICD and Fe65-PTB2.

Herein, the term “atomic coordinates” refers to the coordinates shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 as a whole, but also includes parts thereof, which are e.g. suitable for identifying and/or developing ligands which interact with one or more binding sites of the molecule(s) characterized by said atomic coordinates. Moreover, the term “atomic coordinates” does not only include the exact coordinates as provided in FIGS. 1 to 3, but also includes those atomic coordinates which are substantially identical thereto, and which may have one or more atoms removed, altered or added. Accordingly, also those atomic coordinates which deviate from those provided in FIGS. 1 to 3 should fall under the above-mentioned term “atomic coordinates”, as long as the same principal interaction mode between AICD and Fe65-PTB2, or at least a similar sterical predisposition of the respective binding sites thereof, is characterized.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a three-dimensional structure of AICD containing at least that part which characterizes the above-mentioned interaction between AICD and Fe65-PTB2 is disclosed.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the above-defined three-dimensional structure of AICD comprises the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 2, or at least those parts thereof which characterize the binding site(s) of the AICD.

Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a three-dimensional structure of Fe65-PTB2 containing at least that part which characterizes the interaction between Fe65-PTB2 and AICD as defined above.

In a further preferred embodiment, the above-defined three-dimensional structure of Fe65-PTB2 is disclosed, comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 3, or at least those parts thereof which characterize the binding site(s) of the Fe65-PTB2.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a method for identifying and/or developing ligands which modify the interaction of Fe65-PTB2 and AICD, or fragments thereof, comprising the steps of (a) providing a protein-complex comprising the intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) and the human Fe65-PTB2 by its three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 1 (i.e. providing a three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 1), or at least those parts thereof which characterize the interaction between Fe65-PTB2 and AICD, and (b) determining ligands which modify the interaction between AICD and Fe65-PTB2, or fragments thereof.

The term “modify” is not especially limited herein and includes all alteration of the interaction of Fe65-PTB2 and AICD, or fragments thereof. In particular, the term “modify” includes for example impairment, inhibition, enhancement or change of specificity.

A further aspect of the present invention relates to a method for identifying and/or developing ligands which interact with the binding site(s) of AICD, or fragments thereof, comprising the steps of (a) providing AICD by its three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 2 (i.e. providing a three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 2), or at least those parts thereof which characterize the binding site(s) of AICD, and (b) determining ligands which interact with the binding site(s) of AICD, or fragments thereof.

Moreover, another aspect of the present invention relates to a method for identifying and/or developing ligands which interact with the binding site(s) of Fe65-PTB2, or fragments thereof, comprising the steps of (a) providing Fe65-PTB2 by its three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 3 (i.e. providing a three-dimensional structure comprising the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 3), or at least those parts thereof which characterize the binding site(s) of Fe65-PTB2, and (b) determining ligands which interact with the binding site(s) of Fe65-PTB2, or fragments thereof.

According to a preferred embodiment of the above-defined method the three-dimensional structure is provided in a computer-readable form, and the ligands which modify the interaction between AICD and Fe65-PTB2, or interact with the binding sites of AICD and/or Fe65-PTB2, or fragments thereof, are determined using a suitable computer-program.

The term “computer-readable form” as used herein is not especially restricted and refers to any form which might be processed by a computer. Preferably, the three-dimensional structure is provided in a form of coordinates or images. Similarly, the term “suitable computer program” herein includes all computer-programs which can be used in connection with the above-mentioned computer-readable form of the three-dimensional structure of the present invention and includes e.g. programs for visualizing the structure or parts thereof, for simulating, optimizing and determining binding interactions, or for screening tasks in general.

The method as defined above is thus especially suited to identify and/or develop ligands by at least partly using in silico methods. The term “in silico” as used herein means inter alia that an action is performed on a computer, via computer simulation, or includes at least an involvement of a computer.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a use of the above-defined protein-complex, AICD, or Fe65-PTB2 for identifying and/or developing ligands which modify the interaction of Fe65-PTB2 and AICD, or fragments thereof, wherein the three-dimensional structure thereof comprises the atomic coordinates provided in FIG. 1, 2 or 3, or at least those parts thereof which describe the interaction between Fe65-PTB2 and AICD.

According to another embodiment, a pharmaceutical composition to be used for the treatment or prevention of neuronal disorders in a patient, such as AD or neurodegenerative disorders associated with AD in a mammal, preferably a human, is disclosed, comprising a substance capable of modifying the interaction between Fe65-PTB2 and AICD, which has been identified by the above-defined methods, and optionally one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers and/or diluents.

The term “pharmaceutical composition” generally includes, according to the present invention, all compositions comprising at least one constituent which has an effect on a condition of a patient suffering from AD or a neurodegenerative disorder associated with AD or which can be used to prevent such disorders. Accordingly, said term is not specifically restricted and includes compositions comprising one or more effective substances and optionally one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, diluents, excipients and/or auxiliary agents.

Moreover, the pharmaceutical composition of the present invention can be administered in a suitable dosage which depends e.g. on the efficacy of the respective ligand in use via any appropriate route such as parenterally, orally, (sub)cutaneously or sublingually or it can be injected into an organ of a patient in need thereof.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a crystal form of the amyloid precursor protein intracellular domain (AICD) in complex with human Fe65-PTB2.

According to the present invention, the way to obtain said crystal form is not especially restricted, and includes, for example, the crystallization of AICD in complex with human Fe65-PTB2 using sitting, hanging or sandwich drop crystallization, free interface diffusion, batch crystallization, microdialysis crystallization, or crystallization under oil. According to the present invention vapor-diffusion based crystallization methods, such as hanging or sitting drop crystallization, are preferred.

The substances required for crystallizing e.g. AICD (or AICD-C31/32), with Fe65 (or Fe65-PTB2) may be obtained by any method known in the art, such as recombinant synthesis thereof in a host microorganism, direct synthesis by solid phase peptide synthesis, or extraction from human or animal cells. According to the present invention, the preparation of AICD and Fe65-PTB2, or fragments thereof, is preferably performed by transfection of host cells with one or more vectors comprising nucleic acid sequences which encode the AICD and Fe65-PTB2 proteins.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the above-defined crystal form is defined as a crystal of hexagonal space group P61 having the cell constants a=b=114.3 ű15%, c=74.8 ű15%, α=β=90° and γ=120°.

The three-dimensional structure of AICD in complex with Fe65-PTB2 as disclosed herein is surprisingly suitable for elucidating the processes which take place in the development of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). In particular, the three-dimensional structure according to the present invention advantageously allows the identification and/or development of ligands which modify the interaction between APP, the main source of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), and the human adaptor protein Fe65. The identification and/or development of ligands capable of effectively modifying the above-mentioned interaction is considered to yield highly effective compounds, e.g. in form of a pharmaceutical composition, for preventing or treating neuronal disorders, such as AD.

The present invention will be further illustrated in the following examples, without any limitation thereto.

EXAMPLES

Example 1

Cloning and Protein Expression

A gene fragment encoding the human Fe65-PTB2 domain comprising the residues 534 to 666 (SEQ ID NO: 2) has been amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with the primers Fe65PTB2_F (SEQ ID NO: 7) and Fe65PTB2_R (SEQ ID NO: 8). The PCR product was cloned into the NcoI and XhoI sites of the pET21d vector (Novagen) in frame with the C-terminal hexa-histidine tag encoded by the vector.

The gene coding for the human AICD (residues 646 to 695 in respect to neuronal APP695 numbering) was amplified using the primers APP_C50_F (SEQ ID NO: 3) and APP_C50_R (SEQ ID NO: 4) and cloned into the NdeI and HindIII sites of the pET25b vector (Novagen). The construct comprising the final C-terminal 50 amino acids (amino acid residues 646 to 695) of APP was amplified using the primers APP_C32_F (SEQ ID NO: 5) and APP_C32_R (SEQ ID NO: 6) and cloned into the NcoI and HindIII cleavage sites of the pETtrx1b. While the AICD was untagged the AICD-C32 construct was fused to thioredoxin and a hexa-histidine tag containing a TEV cleavage site in between. All constructs were verified by DNA sequencing.

All recombinant proteins were overexpressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) RIL cells. Cells expressing the Fe65-PTB2 or the AICD were grown in terrific-broth (TB) medium containing ampicillin (100 mg·I−1) while cells expressing the AICD-C32 construct were grown in LB medium containing kanamycin (30 mg·I−1). All cells were incubated at 310 K until the optical density reached ˜0.8 and expression was induced with 1 mM isopropyl-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). After induction cells expressing the AICD or the AICD-C32 fragment were incubated at 310 K for 4 hours while the expression of the Fe65-PTB2 was done at 293 K for 16 hours. Cells were harvested by centrifugation for 20 min at 5000 g and 277 K and frozen at 193 K.

Example 2

Purification

Cell pellets were resuspended in 10 ml lysis buffer per gram of cells and the protein was extracted by a combination of sonification and by passing through a M1-10L Microfluidizer (Microfluidics). For Fe65-PTB2 and AICD-C32 the lysis buffer contained 300 mM NaCl, 50 mM Tris pH 8.0, 10 mM imidazole, and 0.02% (v/v) 1-thioglycerol. The cell lysate was centrifuged at 125000 g at 277 K and the supernatant was applied to a 1 ml His-Trap HP column (GE Healthcare). The column was washed with 10 column volumes lysis buffer for the AICD-C32 and with lysis buffer containing 30 mM imidazole for the Fe65-PTB2. Both proteins were eluted from the column in lysis buffer containing 300 mM imidazole.

To remove the thioredoxin and the hexa-histidine-tag from the AICD-C32 the eluted protein was concentrated using an Amicon Ultracel-5K (Millipore) to a final volume of 2.5 ml and applied to a PD10 column (GE Healthcare) equilibrated in a buffer containing 200 mM NaCl, 20 mM Tris pH 8.0 and 1 mM DTT. The fusion protein was cleaved over night at 277 K by adding 200 μg of recombinant TEV protease. After digestion the sample was again applied to a 1 ml His-Trap HP column and the flow-through containing the AICD-C32 peptide was collected. Both Fe65-PTB2 and the AICD-C32 were further purified on a S30 16/60 size exclusion column equilibrated in 150 mM NaCl, 10 mM Tris pH 8.0.

For the complete AICD construct the lysis buffer contained 150 mM NaCl, 50 mM Tris pH 7.5 and 1 μg/ml lysozyme. Prior to protein extraction the cells were incubated for one hour at 277 K. The cell lysate was centrifuged at 20000 g and 277 K. The pellet fraction containing the protein in inclusion bodies (IBs) was washed five times in lysis buffer without lysozyme but with 1.0 (v/v) % lauryl-dimethylamine-N-oxide (LDAO) and afterward two times in lysis buffer without detergent. The purified lBs were solubilized in 6 M guanidiniumhydrochlorid (GdnHCl) and afterwards diluted with water to a final concentration of 4 M GdnHCl. Refolding of the AICD was performed by the rapid dilution method with 150 mM NaCl, 100 mM Tris pH 7.5 and 0.8 M L-arginine as refolding buffer. The refolded protein was finally purified on a S30 16/60 size exclusion column as described above. Complex formation between Fe65-PTB2 and AICD or AICD-C32 was performed by the addition of the respective AICD construct in a 1.5:1 access and an incubation of the binding partners for 1 h at 277 K. In both cases the resulting complex was applied to a S30 16/60 size exclusion column as described above. Prior to crystallization experiments the protein was concentrated using an Amicon Ultracel-5K (Millipore).

Example 3

Crystallization

Initial crystallization trials of the complex containing Fe65-PTB2 and AICD or AICD-C32 were performed using the Nextal screen formulations (Qiagen) and crystallization drops have been set with a Phoenix crystallization robot (Art Robbins). Crystallization optimization was done by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method at 277 K, 284 K or 293 K. The reservoir was mixed with protein solution in a 1:1 ratio. Crystals were flash-cooled in liquid nitrogen prior to diffraction experiments and after rapid soaking in mother liquor supplemented by 20% (v/v) ethylene glycol.

Example 4

Data Collection and Phasing

Diffraction data on the Fe65-PTB2/AICD-C32 complex crystals were collected at beamline ID14-eh2 at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble (France) at cryogenic temperatures (100 K) on an ADSC Q4 CCD detector. Data were processed with program MOSFLM and scaled with SCALA from the CCP4 program suite (Collaborative Computational Project No. 4). For the molecular replacement method we used program PHASER with the pdb entry 1OQN as search model.

Example 5

Model Building, Refinement, and Validation

The model was built using the program Coot and refinement was carried out with REFMAC5 from the Collaborative Computational Project No. 4 (CCP4). The quality of the model was checked using PROCHECK and WHAT-IF.

Claims

1. A crystal form of a protein-complex of an intracellular domain (AICD) of human amyloid precursor protein (APP695) consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 in complex with human Fe65-PTB2 consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2, wherein the crystal form is in hexagonal space group P61 and has the cell constants a=b=114.3 ű15%, c=74.8 ű15%, α=β=90° and γ=120°.
2. The crystal form of claim 1, wherein the three-dimensional structure of said protein-complex has the structural coordinates of FIG. 1.