No validated treatments exist for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs or prion diseases) in humans or livestock. The search for TSE therapeutics is complicated by persistent uncertainties about the nature of mammalian prions and their pathogenic mechanisms. In pursuit of anti-TSE drugs, we and others have focused primarily on blocking conversion of normal prion protein, PrP^C, to the TSE-associated isoform, PrP^Sc. Recently developed high-throughput screens have hastened the identification of new inhibitors with strong in vivo anti-TSE activities such as porphyrins, phthalocyanines, and phosphorthioated oligonucleotides. New routes of administration have enhanced beneficial effects against established brain infections. Several different classes of TSE inhibitors share structural similarities, compete for the same site(s) on PrP^C, and induce the clustering and internalization of PrP^C from the cell surface. These activities may represent a common mechanism of action for these anti-TSE compounds.
Prions and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) Chemotherapeutics: A Common Mechanism for Anti-TSE Compounds?Accounts of Chemical Research
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Citation InformationCaughey, B., W.S. Caughey, D.A. Kocisko, K.S. Lee, J.R. Silveira, and J.D. Morrey 2006. Prions and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) chemotherapeutics: A common mechanism for anti-TSE compounds?. Acc. Chem. Res., 39(9): 646-53.