A truncated peptide from p35, a Cdk5 activator, prevents Alzheimer's disease phenotypes in model mice

FASEB J. 2013 Jan;27(1):174-86. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-217497. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Alzheimer's disease (AD), one of the leading neurodegenerative disorders of older adults, which causes major socioeconomic burdens globally, lacks effective therapeutics without significant side effects. Besides the hallmark pathology of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), it has been reported that cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5), a critical neuronal kinase, is hyperactivated in AD brains and is, in part, responsible for the above pathology. Here we show that a modified truncated 24-aa peptide (TFP5), derived from the Cdk5 activator p35, penetrates the blood-brain barrier after intraperitoneal injections, inhibits abnormal Cdk5 hyperactivity, and significantly rescues AD pathology (up to 70-80%) in 5XFAD AD model mice. The mutant mice, injected with TFP5 exhibit behavioral rescue, whereas no rescue was observed in mutant mice injected with either saline or scrambled peptide. However, TFP5 does not inhibit cell cycle Cdks or normal Cdk5/p35 activity, and thereby has no toxic side effects (even at 200 mg/kg), a common problem in most current therapeutics for AD. In addition, treated mice displayed decreased inflammation, amyloid plaques, NFTs, cell death, and an extended life by 2 mo. These results suggest TFP5 as a potential therapeutic, toxicity-free candidate for AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Enzyme Activators / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation


  • Enzyme Activators
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • neuronal Cdk5 activator (p25-p35)