CAG repeats RNA causes various fatal neurodegenerative diseases exemplified by Huntington's disease (HD) and several spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs). Although there are differences in the pathogenic mechanisms, these diseases share the common cause, i.e., expansion of CAG repeats. The shared cause of these diseases raises the possibility for the exploiting the common target as a potential therapeutic approach. Oligonucleotide-based therapeutics are designed earlier with the help of the base pairing rule but are not very promiscuous, considering the nonspecific stimulation of the immune system and the poor cellular delivery. Therefore, small molecules-based therapeutics are preferred for targeting the repeats expansion disorders. Here, we have used the chemical similarity search approach to discern the small molecules that selectively target toxic CAG RNA. The lead compounds showed the specificity towards AA mismatch in biophysical studies including CD, ITC, and NMR spectroscopy and thus aided to forestall the polyQ mediated pathogenicity. Furthermore, the lead compounds also explicitly alleviate the polyQ mediated toxicity in HD cell models and patient-derived cells. These findings suggest that the lead compound could act as a chemical probe for AA mismatch containing RNA as well as plays a neuroprotective role in fatal neurodegenerative diseases like HD and SCAs.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no competing interests.
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