Amyloid beta-peptide is produced by the cleavage of amyloid precursor protein by two secretases, a β-secretase, beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and a γ-secretase. It has been hypothesised that partial inhibition of BACE1 in individuals with a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may be beneficial in preventing cognitive decline. In this study, we report the development of a novel antisense oligonucleotide (AO) that could efficiently downregulate the BACE1
transcript and partially inhibit BACE1 protein. We designed and synthesised a range of 2’-OMethyl-modified antisense oligonucleotides with a phosphorothioate backbone across various exons of the BACE1
transcript, of which AO2, targeting exon 2, efficiently downregulated BACE1
RNA expression by 90%. The sequence of AO2 was later synthesised with a phosphorodiamidate morpholino chemistry, which was found to be not as efficient at downregulating BACE1
expression as the 2’-OMethyl antisense oligonucleotides with a phosphorothioate backbone variant. AO2 also reduced BACE1 protein levels by 45%. In line with our results, we firmly believe that AO2 could be used as a potential preventative therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s disease.
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