DOI: 10.1007/s13311-017-0544-9 Pages: 1-13
Article Type: Original Article

A Molecular Tweezer Ameliorates Motor Deficits in Mice Overexpressing α-Synuclein

1. University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine

2. University of California, Los Angeles, Brain Research Institute

3. University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of Organic Chemistry

4. University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine

5. University of California, Los Angeles, Molecular Biology Institute

Correspondence to:
Gal Bitan



Aberrant accumulation and self-assembly of α-synuclein are tightly linked to several neurodegenerative diseases called synucleinopathies, including idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy. Deposition of fibrillar α-synuclein as insoluble inclusions in affected brain cells is a pathological hallmark of synucleinopathies. However, water-soluble α-synuclein oligomers may be the actual culprits causing neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in synucleinopathies. Accordingly, therapeutic approaches targeting the toxic α-synuclein assemblies are attractive for these incurable disorders. The “molecular tweezer” CLR01 selectively remodels abnormal protein self-assembly through reversible binding to Lys residues. Here, we treated young male mice overexpressing human wild-type α-synuclein under control of the Thy-1 promoter (Thy1-aSyn mice) with CLR01 and examined motor behavior and α-synuclein in the brain. Intracerebroventricular administration of CLR01 for 28 days to the mice improved motor dysfunction in the challenging beam test and caused a significant decrease of buffer-soluble α-synuclein in the striatum. Proteinase-K-resistant, insoluble α-synuclein deposits remained unchanged in the substantia nigra, whereas levels of diffuse cytoplasmic α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons increased in mice receiving CLR01 compared with vehicle. More moderate improvement of motor deficits was also achieved by subcutaneous administration of CLR01, in 2/5 trials of the challenging beam test and in the pole test, which requires balance and coordination. The data support further development of molecular tweezers as therapeutic agents for synucleinopathies.

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  • Online: Jun 5, 2017

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