Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. According to the amyloid hypothesis, β-secretase (BACE1) is a promising molecular target for the development of anti-Alzheimer’s disease drugs. BACE1 triggers the formation of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides that are the main component of senile plaques in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. As BACE1 cleaves the amyloid precursor protein at the N-terminus of the Aβ domain, BACE1 inhibitors reduce the Aβ level in the brain. Previously, we designed a series of peptidic inhibitors that possessed a substrate transition-state analogue, and the structure-activity relationship of our inhibitors was evaluated, based on docking and scoring, using the docking simulation software Molecular Operating Environment (MOE). However, there was no association between the scoring values and the inhibitory activities at the P2 position. Hence, we hypothesized that the interaction of the P2 position of the inhibitor with the S2 site of BACE1 was critical for the mechanism of inhibition, and we proposed the novel concept of ‘electron donor bioisostere’ for drug discovery. Using this concept, we designed potent small molecule non-peptidic BACE1 inhibitors.
Part of the book: Quantitative Structure-activity Relationship