Mempasin 2, a ϐ-secretase, is the membrane-anchored aspartic protease that initiates the cleavage of amyloid precursor protein leading to the production of ϐ-amyloid and the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Thus memapsin 2 is a major therapeutic target for the development of inhibitor drugs for the disease. Many biochemical tools, such as the specificity and crystal structure, have been established and have led to the design of potent and relatively small transition-state inhibitors. Although developing a clinically viable mempasin 2 inhibitor remains challenging, progress to date renders hope that memapsin 2 inhibitors may ultimately be useful for therapeutic reduction of ϐ-amyloid.
- © 2003 The Biochemical Society