Neuroprotective secreted amyloid precursor protein acts by disrupting amyloid precursor protein dimers
ABSTRACT The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is implied both in cell growth and differentiation and in neurodegenerative processes in Alzheimer disease. Regulated proteolysis of APP generates biologically active fragments such as the neuroprotective secreted ectodomain sAPPalpha and the neurotoxic beta-amyloid peptide. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the intact transmembrane APP plays a signaling role, which might be important for both normal synaptic plasticity and neuronal dysfunction in dementia. To understand APP signaling, we tracked single molecules of APP using quantum dots and quantitated APP homodimerization using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy for the detection of Förster resonance energy transfer in living neuroblastoma cells. Using selective labeling with synthetic fluorophores, we show that the dimerization of APP is considerably higher at the plasma membrane than in intracellular membranes. Heparan sulfate significantly contributes to the almost complete dimerization of APP at the plasma membrane. Importantly, this technique for the first time structurally defines the initiation of APP signaling by binding of a relevant physiological extracellular ligand; our results indicate APP as receptor for neuroprotective sAPPalpha, as sAPPalpha binding disrupts APP dimers, and this disruption of APP dimers by sAPPalpha is necessary for the protection of neuroblastoma cells against starvation-induced cell death. Only cells expressing reversibly dimerized wild-type, but not covalently dimerized mutant APP are protected by sAPPalpha. These findings suggest a potentially beneficial effect of increasing sAPPalpha production or disrupting APP dimers for neuronal survival.
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ABSTRACT: A role of amyloid β (Aβ) peptide aggregation and deposition in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis is widely accepted. Significantly, abnormalities induced by aggregated Aβ have been linked to synaptic and neuritic degeneration, consistent with the "dying-back" pattern of degeneration that characterizes neurons affected in AD. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the toxic effect of aggregated Aβ remain elusive. In the last 2 decades, a variety of aggregated Aβ species have been identified and their toxic properties demonstrated in diverse experimental systems. Concurrently, specific Aβ assemblies have been shown to interact and misregulate a growing number of molecular effectors with diverse physiological functions. Such pleiotropic effects of aggregated Aβ posit a mayor challenge for the identification of the most cardinal Aβ effectors relevant to AD pathology. In this review, we discuss recent experimental evidence implicating amyloid β precursor protein (APP) as a molecular target for toxic Aβ assemblies. Based on a significant body of pathologic observations and experimental evidence, we propose a novel pathologic feed-forward mechanism linking Aβ aggregation to abnormalities in APP processing and function, which in turn would trigger the progressive loss of neuronal connectivity observed early in AD.Neurobiology of aging 05/2013; 34(11). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.04.021 · 4.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder marked by memory impairment and cognitive deficits. A major component of AD pathology is the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are comprised of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides derived from the amyloidogenic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (AβPP) by β- and γ-secretases. In a subset of patients, inheritance of mutations in the AβPP gene is responsible for altering Aβ production, leading to early onset disease. Interestingly, many of these familial mutations lie within the transmembrane domain of the protein near the GxxxG and GxxxA dimerization motifs that are important for transmembrane interactions. As AβPP dimerization has been linked to changes in Aβ production, it is of interest to know whether familial AβPP mutations affect full-length APP dimerization. Using bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), blue native gel electrophoresis, and live cell chemical cross-linking, we found that familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) mutations do not affect full-length AβPP dimerization in transfected HEK293 and COS7 cells. It follows that changes in AβPP dimerization are not necessary for altered Aβ production, and in FAD mutations, changes in Aβ levels are more likely a result of alternative proteolytic processing.01/2013; 2(1):15-28.
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ABSTRACT: Recent intriguing evidence suggests that metabolites of amyloid precursor protein (APP), mutated in familial forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD), play critical roles in developmental and postnatal neurogenesis. Of note is soluble APPα (sAPPα) that regulates neural progenitor cell proliferation. The APP family encompasses a group of ubiquitously expressed and evolutionarily conserved, type I transmembrane glycoproteins, whose functions have yet to be fully elucidated. APP can undergo proteolytic cleavage by mutually exclusive pathways. The subtle structural differences between metabolites generated in the different pathways, as well as their equilibrium, may be crucial for neuronal function. The implications of this new body of evidence are significant. Miscleavage of APP would readily impact developmental and postnatal neurogenesis, which might contribute to cognitive deficits characterizing Alzheimer's disease. This review will discuss the implications of the role of the APP family in neurogenesis for neuronal development, cognitive function, and brain disorders that compromise learning and memory, such as AD.Frontiers in Neuroscience 06/2012; 6:81. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2012.00081