Innovative Non-PrP-Targeted Drug Strategy Designed to Enhance Prion Clearance


Journal of medicinal chemistry


14 July, 2022


Arianna Colini Baldeschi, Marco Zattoni, Silvia Vanni, Lea Nikolic, Chiara Ferracin, Giuseppina La Sala, Maria Summa, Rosalia Bertorelli, Sine Mandrup Bertozzi, Gabriele Giachin, Paolo Carloni, Maria Laura Bolognesi, Marco De Vivo, Giuseppe Legname

Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation of misfolded prion protein (called PrPSc). Although conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) to PrPSc is still not completely understood, most of the therapies developed until now are based on blocking this process. Here, we propose a new drug strategy aimed at clearing prions without any direct interaction with neither PrPC nor PrPSc. Starting from the recent discovery of SERPINA3/SerpinA3n upregulation during prion diseases, we have identified a small molecule, named compound 5 (ARN1468), inhibiting the function of these serpins and effectively reducing prion load in chronically infected cells. Although the low bioavailability of this compound does not allow in vivo studies in prion-infected mice, our strategy emerges as a novel and effective approach to the treatment of prion disease.