The role of APP and APLP for synaptic transmission, plasticity, and network function: lessons from genetic mouse models.
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: Defining the biochemical alterations that occur in the brain during "normal" aging is an important part of understanding the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases and of distinguishing pathological conditions from aging-associated changes. Three groups were selected based on age and on having no evidence of neurological or significant neurodegenerative disease: 1) young adult individuals, average age 26 years (n = 9); 2) middle-aged subjects, average age 59 years (n = 5); 3) oldest-old individuals, average age 93 years (n = 6). Using ELISA and Western blotting methods, we quantified and compared the levels of several key molecules associated with neurodegenerative disease in the precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, two brain regions known to exhibit early imaging alterations during the course of Alzheimer's disease. Our experiments revealed that the bioindicators of emerging brain pathology remained steady or decreased with advancing age. One exception was S100B, which significantly increased with age. Along the process of aging, neurofibrillary tangle deposition increased, even in the absence of amyloid deposition, suggesting the presence of amyloid plaques is not obligatory for their development and that limited tangle density is a part of normal aging. Our study complements a previous assessment of neuropathology in oldest-old subjects, and within the limitations of the small number of individuals involved in the present investigation, it adds valuable information to the molecular and structural heterogeneity observed along the course of aging and dementia. This work underscores the need to examine through direct observation how the processes of amyloid deposition unfold or change prior to the earliest phases of dementia emergence.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105784. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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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. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) is a large transmembrane protein highly expressed in the central nervous system and cleavage of it can produce amyloid-β peptides (Aβ) involved in synaptic dysfunction and loss associated with cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Surprisingly, little is known about the synaptic and sub-synaptic distribution of AβPP in different types of nerve terminals. We used total, synaptic, sub-synaptic, and astrocytic membrane preparations obtained from the hippocampus of adult rats to define the localization of AβPP, using two different antibodies against different AβPP epitopes. Western blot analysis revealed that AβPP was not significantly enriched in synaptosomal as compared to total membranes. Within synapses, AβPP immunoreactivity was more abundant in pre- (60 ± 4%) than post- (30 ± 5%) or extra-synaptic fractions (10 ± 2%). Immunocytochemical analysis of purified nerve terminals indicated that AβPP was more frequently associated with glutamatergic (present in 31 ± 4% of glutamatergic terminals) rather than with GABAergic (16 ± 3%) or cholinergic terminals (4 ± 1%, n = 4). We also observed a general lack of co-localization of AβPP and GFAP immunoreactivities in the hippocampus of sections of adult rat brain, albeit we could detect the presence of AβPP in gliosomes (vesicular specializations of astrocytic membranes), suggesting that AβPP has a heterogeneous localization restricted to certain regions of astrocytes. These results provide the first direct demonstration that AβPP is mostly distributed among glutamatergic rather than GABAergic or cholinergic terminals of the adult rat hippocampus, in remarkable agreement with the particular susceptibility to dysfunction and degeneration of glutamatergic synapses in early AD.Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 02/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor