The role of APP and APLP for synaptic transmission, plasticity, and network function: Lessons from genetic mouse models

Division of Cellular Neurobiology, Zoological Institute, TU Braunschweig, Spielmannstr. 7, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Experimental Brain Research (Impact Factor: 2.04). 10/2011; 217(3-4):435-40. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-011-2894-6
Source: PubMed


APP, APLP1, and APLP2 form a family of mammalian membrane proteins with unknown function. APP, however, plays a key role in the molecular pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD), indicating that it is somehow involved in synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, memory formation, and maintenance of neurons. At present, most of our knowledge about the function of APP comes from consequences of AD-related mutations. The native role of APP, and even more of APLP1/2, remains largely unknown. New genetic knockout and knockin models involving several members of the APP/APLP family may yield better insight into the synaptic and systemic functions of these proteins. Here, we summarize recent results from such transgenic animals with special emphasis on synaptic plasticity and coherent patterns of memory-related network activity in the hippocampus. Data from APP knockout mice suggest that this protein is needed for the expression of long-term potentiation (LTP) in aged, but not in juvenile mice. The missing function can be rescued by expressing part of the protein, as well as by blocking inhibition. Double knockout mice lacking APP and APLP2 die shortly after birth indicating that different members of the APP/APLP family can mutually compensate for genetic ablation of single proteins. Recent techniques allow for analysis of tissue with combined defects, e.g., by expressing only part of APP in APLP2 knockout mice or by growing stem cells with multiple deletions on normal slice cultures. Data from these experiments confirm that APP and APLP2 do indeed play an important role in synaptic plasticity. Much less is known about the role of APP/APLP at the network level. Coherent patterns of activity like hippocampal network oscillations are believed to support formation and consolidation of memory. Analysis of such activity patterns in tissue from mice with altered expression of APP/APLP has just started and may shed further light on the importance of these proteins for cognitive functions.

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    • "A␤PP has a large extracellular domain that functions as cell adhesion motif mediating cell-cell adhesion and migration , and such intercellular interactions are important in early phases of development for the generation of synaptic junctions [38] [48] [49]. Increasing evidence postulates that A␤PP participates in synaptogenesis, dendritic spine formation, synaptic vesicle and transmitter release, and synaptic plasticity and behavior [39] [50]. Besides the crucial role of A␤PP in synaptic formation and maturation, it also regulates intracellular calcium homeostasis, through the interaction with L-type calcium channels, which is crucial for intracellular signaling and synaptic transmission; thus A␤PP is currently considered to be a key modulator of synaptic plasticity and neuronal viability [16] [50] [51]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects almost 35 million people worldwide. One of the neuropathological features of AD is the presence of extracellular amyloid plaques, which are mainly composed of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. These peptides derive from the amyloidogenic proteolytic processing of the amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP), through the sequential action of β- and γ-secretases. However, AβPP can also be cleaved by a non-amyloidogenic pathway, involving an α-secretase, and in this case the Aβ formation is precluded. The production of Aβ and of other AβPP catabolites depends on the spatial and temporal co-localization of AβPP with α- or β-secretases and γ-secretase, which traffic through the secretory pathway in a highly regulated manner. Disturbances on AβPP and secretases intracellular trafficking and, consequently, in their localization may affect dynamic interactions between these proteins with consequences in the AD pathogenesis. In this article, we critically review the recent knowledge about the trafficking and co-localization AβPP and related secretases in the brain under physiological and AD conditions. A particular focus is given to data concerning the distribution of AβPP and secretases in different types of synapses relatively to other neuronal or glial localizations. Furthermore, we discuss some possible signals that govern the dynamic encounter of AβPP with each group of secretases, such as AβPP mutations, estrogen deprivation, chronic stress, metabolic impairment, and alterations in sleep pattern-associated with aging. The knowledge of key signals that are responsible for the shifting of AβPP processing away from α-secretases and toward the β-secretases might be useful to develop AD therapeutic strategies.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 01/2015; 45(2). DOI:10.3233/JAD-142730 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    • "This hypothesis is supported by in vitro data and studies with animal models, which have pointed to a synaptic function for APP and APP processing. Long Term Potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity that underlies memory formation, is reduced in APP KO mice; furthermore, hippocampal APP KO neurons show increased size of the readily releasable synaptic vesicle pool and enhanced amplitudes of evoked AMPA- and NMDA-receptor-mediated responses [62]–[64]. Bace1 cleavage of APP is activated by synaptic activity and, as discussed earlier, generates the β-CTF APP metabolite that exerts a pathological role in mouse models of dementia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) is a type I membrane protein that undergoes extensive processing by secretases, including BACE1. Although mutations in APP and genes that regulate processing of APP, such as PSENs and BRI2/ITM2B, cause dementias, the normal function of APP in synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity and memory formation is poorly understood. To grasp the biochemical mechanisms underlying the function of APP in the central nervous system, it is important to first define the sub-cellular localization of APP in synapses and the synaptic interactome of APP. Using biochemical and electron microscopy approaches, we have found that APP is localized in pre-synaptic vesicles, where it is processed by Bace1. By means of a proteomic approach, we have characterized the synaptic interactome of the APP intracellular domain. We focused on this region of APP because in vivo data underline the central funtional and pathological role of the intracellular domain of APP. Consistent with the expression of APP in pre-synaptic vesicles, the synaptic APP intracellular domain interactome is predominantly constituted by pre-synaptic, rather than post-synaptic, proteins. This pre-synaptic interactome of the APP intracellular domain includes proteins expressed on pre-synaptic vesicles such as the vesicular SNARE Vamp2/Vamp1 and the Ca2+ sensors Synaptotagmin-1/Synaptotagmin-2, and non-vesicular pre-synaptic proteins that regulate exocytosis, endocytosis and recycling of pre-synaptic vesicles, such as target-membrane-SNAREs (Syntaxin-1b, Syntaxin-1a, Snap25 and Snap47), Munc-18, Nsf, α/β/γ-Snaps and complexin. These data are consistent with a functional role for APP, via its carboxyl-terminal domain, in exocytosis, endocytosis and/or recycling of pre-synaptic vesicles.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108576. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108576 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The APP family of proteins still represents a functional conundrum in the maintenance of brain homeostasis. However, these molecules are apparently involved in synapse formation and function as well as in synaptic plasticity and consolidation of memory [93], [94]. Their molecular differences and functions suggest molecular redundancy between APP, APLP1 and APLP2 supporting their importance in brain metabolism [95]. "
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    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105784. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105784 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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