Ametantrone-based compounds as potential regulators of Tau pre-mRNA alternative splicing†
Tau pre-mRNA contains a stem–loop structure involved in the regulation of the alternative splicing of tau protein. We describe here a new family of Tau RNA ligands selected by dynamic combinatorial chemistry based on the combination of ametantrone with small RNA-binding molecules. The most promising compound results from derivatization of one of the side chains of the anthraquinone ring with the small aminoglycoside neamine through a short spacer. This compound binds the RNA target with a high affinity in a preferred binding site, in which the heteroaromatic moiety intercalates in the bulged region of the stem–loop and its side chains and neamine interact with the major groove of the RNA. Importantly, binding of this compound to mutated RNA sequences involved in the onset of some tauopathies such as FTDP-17 restores their thermodynamic stability to a similar or even higher levels than that of the wild-type sequence, thereby revealing its potential as a modulator of Tau pre-mRNA splicing.