Sphingolipid storage affects autophagic metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein and promotes Abeta generation.
ABSTRACT Deposition of amyloid β peptides (Aβs) in extracellular amyloid plaques within the human brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ derives from proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. The initial cleavage by β-secretase results in shedding of the APP ectodomain and generation of APP C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs), which can then be further processed within the transmembrane domain by γ-secretase, resulting in release of Aβ. Here, we demonstrate that accumulation of sphingolipids (SLs), as occurs in lysosomal lipid storage disorders (LSDs), decreases the lysosome-dependent degradation of APP-CTFs and stimulates γ-secretase activity. Together, this results in increased generation of both intracellular and secreted Aβ. Notably, primary fibroblasts from patients with different SL storage diseases show strong accumulation of potentially amyloidogenic APP-CTFs. By using biochemical, cell biological, and genetic approaches, we demonstrate that SL accumulation affects autophagic flux and impairs the clearance of APP-CTFs. Thus, accumulation of SLs might not only underlie the pathogenesis of LSDs, but also trigger increased generation of Aβ and contribute to neurodegeneration in sporadic AD.
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ABSTRACT: In Alzheimer's disease (AD), abnormal sphingolipid metabolism has been reported, although the pathogenic consequences of these changes have not been fully characterized. We show that acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) is increased in fibroblasts, brain, and/or plasma from patients with AD and in AD mice, leading to defective autophagic degradation due to lysosomal depletion. Partial genetic inhibition of ASM (ASM(+/-)) in a mouse model of familial AD (FAD; amyloid precursor protein [APP]/presenilin 1 [PS1]) ameliorated the autophagocytic defect by restoring lysosomal biogenesis, resulting in improved AD clinical and pathological findings, including reduction of amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition and improvement of memory impairment. Similar effects were noted after pharmacologic restoration of ASM to the normal range in APP/PS1 mice. Autophagic dysfunction in neurons derived from FAD patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was restored by partial ASM inhibition. Overall, these results reveal a novel mechanism of ASM pathogenesis in AD that leads to defective autophagy due to impaired lysosomal biogenesis and suggests that partial ASM inhibition is a potential new therapeutic intervention for the disease.The Journal of Cell Biology 07/2014; · 9.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Antiretroviral therapy extends the lifespan of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, but many survivors develop premature impairments in cognition. These residual cognitive impairments may involve aberrant deposition of amyloid β-peptides (Aβ). By unknown mechanisms, Aβ accumulates in the lysosomal and autophagic compartments of neurons in the HIV-infected brain. Here we identify the molecular events evoked by the HIV coat protein gp120 that facilitate the intraneuronal accumulation of Aβ. We created a triple transgenic gp120/APP/PS1 mouse that recapitulates intraneuronal deposition of Aβ in a manner reminiscent of the HIV-infected brain. In cultured neurons, we found that the HIV coat protein gp120 increased the transcriptional expression of BACE1 through repression of PPARγ, and increased APP expression by promoting interaction of the translation-activating RBP heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C with APP mRNA. APP and BACE1 were colocalized into stabilized membrane microdomains, where the β-cleavage of APP and Aβ formation were enhanced. Aβ-peptides became localized to lysosomes that were engorged with sphingomyelin and calcium. Stimulating calcium efflux from lysosomes with a TRPM1 agonist promoted calcium efflux, luminal acidification, and cleared both sphingomyelin and Aβ from lysosomes. These findings suggest that therapeutics targeted to reduce lysosomal pH in neurodegenerative conditions may protect neurons by facilitating the clearance of accumulated sphingolipids and Aβ-peptides.Journal of Neuroscience 08/2014; 34(34):11485-503. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Niemann Pick disease type A (NPA), which is caused by loss of function mutations in the acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) gene, is a lysosomal storage disorder leading to neurodegeneration. Yet, lysosomal dysfunction and its consequences in the disease are poorly characterized. Here we show that undegraded molecules build up in neurons of acid sphingomyelinase knockout mice and in fibroblasts from NPA patients in which autophagolysosomes accumulate. The latter is not due to alterations in autophagy initiation or autophagosome–lysosome fusion but because of inefficient autophago–lysosomal clearance. This, in turn, can be explained by lysosomal membrane permeabilization leading to cytosolic release of Cathepsin B. High sphingomyelin (SM) levels account for these effects as they can be induced in control cells on addition of the lipid and reverted on SM-lowering strategies in ASM-deficient cells. These results unveil a relevant role for SM in autophagy modulation and characterize autophagy anomalies in NPA, opening new perspectives for therapeutic interventions. Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 31 January 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.4Cell Death and Differentiation 06/2014; · 8.39 Impact Factor