Virtual Screening and Testing of GSK-3 Inhibitors Using Human SH-SY5Y Cells Expressing Tau Folding Reporter and Mouse Hippocampal Primary Culture under Tau Cytotoxicity

Chih Hsin Lin, Yu Shao Hsieh, Ying Chieh Sun, Wun Han Huang, Shu Ling Chen, Zheng Kui Weng, Te Hsien Lin, Yih Ru Wu, Kuo Hsuan Chang, Hei Jen Huang, Guan Chiun Lee*, Hsiu Mei Hsieh-Li*, Guey Jen Lee-Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) is an important serine/threonine kinase that implicates in multiple cellular processes and links with the neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, structure-based virtual screening was performed to search database for compounds targeting GSK-3β from Enamine’s screening collection. Of the top-ranked compounds, 7 primary hits underwent a luminescent kinase assay and a cell assay using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells expressing Tau repeat domain (TauRD) with pro-aggregant mutation ΔK280. In the kinase assay for these 7 compounds, residual GSK-3β activities ranged from 36.1% to 90.0% were detected at the IC50 of SB-216763. In the cell assay, only compounds VB-030 and VB-037 reduced Tau aggregation in SH-SY5Y cells expressing ΔK280 TauRD-DsRed folding reporter. In SH-SY5Y cells expressing ΔK280 TauRD, neither VB-030 nor VB-037 increased expression of GSK-3α Ser21 or GSK-3β Ser9. Among extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), AKT serine/threonine kinase 1 (AKT), mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (P38) and mitogen-activated protein kinase 8 (JNK) which modulate Tau phosphorylation, VB-037 attenuated active phosphorylation of P38 Thr180/ Tyr182, whereas VB-030 had no effect on the phosphorylation status of ERK, AKT, P38 or JNK. However, both VB-030 and VB-037 reduced endogenous Tau phosphorylation at Ser202, Thr231, Ser396 and Ser404 in neuronally differentiated SH-SY5Y expressing ΔK280 TauRD. In addition, VB-030 and VB-037 further improved neuronal survival and/or neurite length and branch in mouse hippocampal primary culture under Tau cytotoxicity. Overall, through inhibiting GSK-3β kinase activity and/or p-P38 (Thr180/Tyr182), both compounds may serve as promising candidates to reduce Tau aggregation/cytotoxicity for AD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalBiomolecules and Therapeutics
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cell assay
  • Enzyme assay
  • GSK-3β kinase inhibitor
  • Mouse hippocampal primary culture
  • Virtual screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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