Article

The mechanism of γ-Secretase dysfunction in familial Alzheimer disease.

VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, Leuven, Belgium.
The EMBO Journal (Impact Factor: 10.75). 04/2012; 31(10):2261-74. DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2012.79
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mechanisms by which mutations in the presenilins (PSEN) or the amyloid precursor protein (APP) genes cause familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) are controversial. FAD mutations increase the release of amyloid β (Aβ)42 relative to Aβ40 by an unknown, possibly gain-of-toxic-function, mechanism. However, many PSEN mutations paradoxically impair γ-secretase and 'loss-of-function' mechanisms have also been postulated. Here, we use kinetic studies to demonstrate that FAD mutations affect Aβ generation via three different mechanisms, resulting in qualitative changes in the Aβ profiles, which are not limited to Aβ42. Loss of ɛ-cleavage function is not generally observed among FAD mutants. On the other hand, γ-secretase inhibitors used in the clinic appear to block the initial ɛ-cleavage step, but unexpectedly affect more selectively Notch than APP processing, while modulators act as activators of the carboxypeptidase-like (γ) activity. Overall, we provide a coherent explanation for the effect of different FAD mutations, demonstrating the importance of qualitative rather than quantitative changes in the Aβ products, and suggest fundamental improvements for current drug development efforts.

1 Follower
 · 
244 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia in western societies, is a pathologically and clinically heterogeneous disease with a strong genetic component. The recent advances in high-throughput genome technologies allowing for the rapid analysis of millions of polymorphisms in thousands of subjects has significantly advanced our understanding of the genomic underpinnings of AD susceptibility. During the last 5 years, genome-wide association and whole-exome- and whole-genome sequencing studies have mapped more than 20 disease-associated loci, providing insights into the molecular pathways involved in AD pathogenesis and hinting at potential novel therapeutic targets. This review article summarizes the challenges and opportunities of when using genomic information for the diagnosis and prognosis of AD.
    Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics 01/2015; 15(3):1-10. DOI:10.1586/14737159.2015.1002469 · 4.27 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aberrant cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by γ-secretase contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease. More than 200 disease-derived mutations have been identified in presenilin (the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase), making modulation of γ-secretase activity a potentially attractive therapeutic opportunity. Unfortunately, the technical challenges in dealing with intact γ-secretase have hindered discovery of modulators and demand a convenient substitute approach. Here we report that, similar to γ-secretase, the archaeal presenilin homolog PSH faithfully processes the substrate APP C99 into Aβ42, Aβ40, and Aβ38. The molar ratio of the cleavage products Aβ42 over Aβ40 by PSH is nearly identical to that by γ-secretase. The proteolytic activity of PSH is specifically suppressed by presenilin-specific inhibitors. Known modulators of γ-secretase also modulate PSH similarly in terms of the Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio. Structural analysis reveals association of a known γ-secretase inhibitor with PSH between its two catalytic aspartate residues. These findings identify PSH as a surrogate protease for the screening of agents that may regulate the protease activity and the cleavage preference of γ-secretase.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: From a neuropathological perspective, elderly patients who die with a clinical diagnosis of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are a heterogeneous group with several different pathologies contributing to the AD phenotype. This poses a challenge when searching for low effect size susceptibility genes for AD. Further, control groups may be contaminated by significant numbers of preclinical AD patients, which also reduces the power of genetic association studies. Here, we discuss how cerebrospinal fluid and imaging biomarkers can be used to increase the chance of finding novel susceptibility genes and as a means to study the functional consequences of risk alleles.
    03/2014; 3(1):19-25. DOI:10.1007/s40142-014-0062-6

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
102 Downloads
Available from
May 17, 2014