Peptides derived from Cdk5 activator p35, specifically inhibit deregulated activity of Cdk5

Biotechnol J. 2007 Aug;2(8):978-87. doi: 10.1002/biot.200700057.


Normal Cdk5 activity, conferred mainly by association with its primary activator p35, is critical for normal function of the cell and must be tightly regulated. During neurotoxicity, p35 is cleaved to form p25, which becomes a potent and mislocalized hyperactivator of Cdk5, resulting in a deregulation of Cdk5 activity. p25 levels have been found to be elevated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain and overexpression of p25 in a transgenic mouse results in the formation of phosphorylated tau, neurofibrillary tangles and cognitive deficits that are pathological hallmarks of AD. p25/Cdk5 also hyperphosphorylates neurofilament proteins that constitute pathological hallmarks found in Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The selective targeting of p25/Cdk5 activity without affecting p35/Cdk5 activity has been unsuccessful. In this review we detail our recent studies of selective p25/Cdk5 inhibition without affecting p35/Cdk5 or mitotic Cdk activities. We found that a further truncation of p25 to yield a Cdk5 inhibitory peptide (CIP) can specifically inhibit p25/Cdk5 activity in transfected HEK cells and primary cortical neurons. CIP was able to reduce tau hyperphosphorylation and neuronal death induced caused by p25/Cdk5 and further studies with CIP may develop a specific Cdk5 inhibition strategy in the treatment of neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / enzymology*
  • Peptides / metabolism*


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peptides
  • neuronal Cdk5 activator (p25-p35)
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5
  • CDK5 protein, human