Isoprenylcysteine Carboxylmethyltransferase-Based Therapy for Hutchinson−Gilford Progeria Syndrome

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Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS, progeria) is a rare genetic disease characterized by premature aging and death in childhood for which there were no approved drugs for its treatment until last November, when lonafarnib obtained long-sought FDA approval. However, the benefits of lonafarnib in patients are limited, highlighting the need for new therapeutic strategies. Here, we validate the enzyme isoprenylcysteine carboxylmethyltransferase (ICMT) as a new therapeutic target for progeria with the development of a new series of potent inhibitors of this enzyme that exhibit an excellent antiprogeroid profile. Among them, compound UCM-13207 significantly improved the main hallmarks of progeria. Specifically, treatment of fibroblasts from progeroid mice with UCM-13207 delocalized progerin from the nuclear membrane, diminished its total protein levels, resulting in decreased DNA damage, and increased cellular viability. Importantly, these effects were also observed in patient-derived cells. Using the LmnaG609G/G609G progeroid mouse model, UCM-13207 showed an excellent in vivo efficacy by increasing body weight, enhancing grip strength, extending lifespan by 20%, and decreasing tissue senescence in multiple organs. Furthermore, UCM-13207 treatment led to an improvement of key cardiovascular hallmarks such as reduced progerin levels in aortic and endocardial tissue and increased number of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). The beneficial effects go well beyond the effects induced by other therapeutic strategies previously reported in the field, thus supporting the use of UCM-13207 as a new treatment for progeria.
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Marcos-Ramiro, B.; Gil-Ordóñez, A.; Marín-Ramos, N. I.; Ortega-Nogales, F.; Balabasquer, M.; Gonzalo, P.; Khiar-Fernández, N.; Rolas, L.; Barkaway, A.; Nourshargh, S.; Andrés, V.; Martín-Fontecha, M.; López-Rodríguez, M. L.; Ortega-Gutiérrez, S. Isoprenylcysteine Carboxylmethyltransferase-Based Therapy for Hutchinson–Gilford Progeria Syndrome. ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 1300-1310 DOI:10.1021/acscentsci.0c01698.