Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Copper binding to the Alzheimer's disease amyloid precursor protein
    Kong, GK-W ; Miles, LA ; Crespi, GAN ; Morton, CJ ; Ng, HL ; Barnham, KJ ; McKinstry, WJ ; Cappai, R ; Parker, MW (SPRINGER, 2008-03-01)
    Alzheimer's disease is the fourth biggest killer in developed countries. Amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in the development of the disease, through the generation of a peptide called A beta by proteolysis of the precursor protein. APP can function as a metalloprotein and modulate copper transport via its extracellular copper binding domain (CuBD). Copper binding to this domain has been shown to reduce A beta levels and hence a molecular understanding of the interaction between metal and protein could lead to the development of novel therapeutics to treat the disease. We have recently determined the three-dimensional structures of apo and copper bound forms of CuBD. The structures provide a mechanism by which CuBD could readily transfer copper ions to other proteins. Importantly, the lack of significant conformational changes to CuBD on copper binding suggests a model in which copper binding affects the dimerisation state of APP leading to reduction in A beta production. We thus predict that disruption of APP dimers may be a novel therapeutic approach to treat Alzheimer's disease.
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    Development of cognitive enhancers based on inhibition of insulin-regulated aminopeptidase
    Chai, SY ; Yeatman, HR ; Parker, MW ; Ascher, DB ; Thompson, PE ; Mulvey, HT ; Albiston, AL (BMC, 2008-12-03)
    The peptides angiotensin IV and LVV-hemorphin 7 were found to enhance memory in a number of memory tasks and reverse the performance deficits in animals with experimentally induced memory loss. These peptides bound specifically to the enzyme insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP), which is proposed to be the site in the brain that mediates the memory effects of these peptides. However, the mechanism of action is still unknown but may involve inhibition of the aminopeptidase activity of IRAP, since both angiotensin IV and LVV-hemorphin 7 are competitive inhibitors of the enzyme. IRAP also has another functional domain that is thought to regulate the trafficking of the insulin-responsive glucose transporter GLUT4, thereby influencing glucose uptake into cells. Although the exact mechanism by which the peptides enhance memory is yet to be elucidated, IRAP still represents a promising target for the development of a new class of cognitive enhancing agents.