L. Muzio, R. Sirtori, D. Gornati
Jul 31, 2020
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease characterized by the degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). We find a significant reduction of the retromer complex subunit VPS35 in iPSCs-derived MNs from ALS patients, in MNs from ALS post mortem explants and in MNs from SOD1G93A mice. Being the retromer involved in trafficking of hydrolases, a pathological hallmark in ALS, we design, synthesize and characterize an array of retromer stabilizers based on bis-guanylhydrazones connected by a 1,3-phenyl ring linker. We select compound 2a as a potent and bioavailable interactor of VPS35-VPS29. Indeed, while increasing retromer stability in ALS mice, compound 2a attenuates locomotion impairment and increases MNs survival. Moreover, compound 2a increases VPS35 in iPSCs-derived MNs and shows brain bioavailability. Our results clearly suggest the retromer as a valuable druggable target in ALS. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor neurons. Here, the authors showed that reduced levels of the VSP35 subunit in the retromer complex is a conserved ALS feature and identified a new lead compound increasing retromer stability ameliorating the disease phenotype.