Genetic Dissection of the Amyloid Precursor Protein in Developmental Function and Amyloid Pathogenesis
ABSTRACT Proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) generates large soluble APP derivatives, β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides, and APP intracellular domain. Expression of the extracellular sequences of APP or its Caenorhabditis elegans counterpart has been shown to be sufficient in partially rescuing the CNS phenotypes of the APP-deficient mice and the lethality of the apl-1 null C. elegans, respectively, leaving open the question as what is the role of the highly conserved APP intracellular domain? To address this question, we created an APP knock-in allele in which the mouse Aβ sequence was replaced by the human Aβ. A frameshift mutation was introduced that replaced the last 39 residues of the APP sequence. We demonstrate that the C-terminal mutation does not overtly affect APP processing and amyloid pathology. In contrast, crossing the mutant allele with APP-like protein 2 (APLP2)-null mice results in similar neuromuscular synapse defects and early postnatal lethality as compared with mice doubly deficient in APP and APLP2, demonstrating an indispensable role of the APP C-terminal domain in these development activities. Our results establish an essential function of the conserved APP intracellular domain in developmental regulation, and this activity can be genetically uncoupled from APP processing and Aβ pathogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, has two pathological hallmarks: Aβ plaques and aggregation of hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau). Aβ is a cleavage product of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). Presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 (PS2) are the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase, which cleaves APP and mediates Aβ production. Genetic mutations in APP, PSEN1 or PSEN2 can lead to early onset of familial AD (FAD). Although mutations in the tau encoding gene MAPT leads to a subtype of frontotemporal dementia and these mutations have been used to model AD tauopathy, no MAPT mutations have been found to be associated with AD. To model AD pathophysiology in mice without the gross overexpression of mutant transgenes, we created a humanized AD mouse model by crossing the APP and PSEN1 FAD knock-in mice with the htau mice which express wildtype human MAPT genomic DNA on mouse MAPT null background (APP/PS1/htau). The APP/PS1/htau mice displayed mild, age-dependent, Aβ plaques and tau hyperphosphorylation, thus successfully recapitulating the late-onset AD pathological hallmarks. Selected biochemical analyses, including p-tau western blot, γ-secretase activity assay, and Aβ ELISA, were performed to study the interaction between Aβ and p-tau. Subsequent behavioral studies revealed that the APP/PS1/htau mice showed reduced mobility in old ages and exaggerated fear response. Genetic analysis suggested that the fear phenotype is due to a synergic interaction between Aβ and p-tau, and it can be completely abolished by tau deletion. The APP/PS1/htau model represents a valuable and disease-relevant late-onset pre-clinical AD animal model because it incorporates human AD genetics without mutant protein overexpression. Analysis of the mice revealed both cooperative and independent effects of Aβ and p-tau.PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80706. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0080706 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Platelets are the first peripheral source of amyloid precursor protein (APP). They possess the proteolytic machinery to produce Aβ and fragments similar to those produced in neurons, and thus offer an ex-vivo model to study APP processing and changes associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Platelet process APP mostly through the α-secretase pathway to release soluble APP (sAPP). They produce small amounts of Aβ, predominantly Aβ40 over Aβ42. sAPP and Aβ are stored in α-granules and are released upon platelet activation by thrombin and collagen, and agents inducing platelet degranulation. A small proportion of full-length APP is present at the platelet surface and this increases by 3-fold upon platelet activation. Immunoblotting of platelet lysates detects APP as isoforms of 130 kDa and 106-110 kDa. The ratio of these of APP isoforms is significantly lower in patients with AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than in healthy controls. This ratio follows a decrease that parallels cognitive decline and can predict conversion from MCI to AD. Alterations in the levels of α-secretase ADAM10 and in the enzymatic activities of α- and β-secretase observed in platelets of patients with AD are consistent with increased processing through the amyloidogenic pathway. β-APP cleaving enzyme activity is increased by 24% in platelet membranes of patients with MCI and by 17% in those with AD. Reports of changes in platelet APP expression with MCI and AD have been promising so far and merit further investigation as the search for blood biomarkers in AD, in particular at the prodromal stage, remains a priority and a challenge.12/2012; 2(6):102-113. DOI:10.5498/wjp.v2.i6.102
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ABSTRACT: Accumulation and deposition of beta-amyloid peptides (Abeta) in the brain is a central event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Besides the parenchymal pathology, Abeta is known to undergo active transport across the blood-brain barrier and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is a prominent feature in the majority of AD. Although impaired cerebral blood flow (CBF) has been implicated in faulty Abeta transport and clearance, and cerebral hypoperfusion can exist in the pre-clinical phase of Alzheimer's disease (AD), it is still unclear whether it is one of the causal factors for AD pathogenesis, or an early consequence of a multi-factor condition that would lead to AD at late stage. To study the potential interaction between faulty CBF and amyloid accumulation in clinical-relevant situation, we generated a new amyloid precursor protein (APP) knock-in allele that expresses humanized Abeta and a Dutch mutation in addition to Swedish/London mutations and compared this line with an equivalent knock-in line but in the absence of the Dutch mutation, both crossed onto the PS1M146V knock-in background.Molecular Neurodegeneration 08/2014; 9(1):28. DOI:10.1186/1750-1326-9-28 · 5.29 Impact Factor