Gamma-secretase activity is present in rafts but is not cholesterol-dependent.
ABSTRACT Cholesterol has been claimed to be involved in the generation and/or accumulation of amyloid beta protein (Abeta). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been fully elucidated yet. Here, we have investigated the effect of membrane cholesterol content on gamma-secretase activity using Chinese hamster ovary cells stably expressing beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and either wild-type or N141I mutant-type presenilin 2. Cholesterol was acutely depleted from the isolated membrane by methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, and Abeta production was assessed in a cell-free assay system. Reduced cholesterol did not significantly alter the amounts of Abeta produced by either total cell membranes or cholesterol-rich low-density membrane domains. Even its extremely low levels in the latter domains did not affect Abeta production. This indicates that the membrane cholesterol content does not directly modulate the activity of gamma-secretase. To ascertain that gamma-secretase resides in cholesterol-rich membrane domains, low-density membrane domains were further fractionated with BCtheta (biotinylated theta-toxin nicked with subtilisin Carlsberg protease), which has recently been shown to bind selectively to rafts of intact cells. The membrane domains purified with BCtheta did indeed produce Abeta. These observations indicate that the gamma-cleavage required for generating Abeta occurs in rafts, but its activity is virtually cholesterol-independent.
- SourceAvailable from: Jørn A Holme[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Recently it has become clear that exposure to xenobiotics may result in various forms of cell death; not only passive cell deaths like necrosis, or programmed cell deaths such as apoptosis, but also regulated necrosis, autophagy, senescence, or mitotic catastrophe. Complex cell signaling networks influence the processing of cell death. Furthermore, recent research has revealed early complex molecular interactions between organelles prior to the final triggering of cell death. The plasma membrane may play an important role in the early cell death signaling events. Regarding this latter aspect, drugs and environmental pollutants have been reported to affect plasma membrane characteristics which may further affect cell fate. Changes in membrane fluidity or in composition and function of specialized membrane microdomains (plasma membrane remodeling) have been proven to be involved in the regulation of many important physiological signaling pathways, including cell death. Furthermore, it has been suggested that a crosstalk between chemical-induced cellular membrane effects and other organelles may be of vital importance to explain the final outcome of chemical exposure. Here, we review the effects of plasma membrane remodeling on cell survival and cell death; we describe how the cell signaling pathways activated by changes in plasma membrane characteristics may influence cell fate. Since plasma membrane function plays an important role in the regulation of a number of cellular responses, it has been implicated in the development or progress of several diseases. A better knowledge of the effects of various chemicals on plasma membrane remodeling may be important for understanding the pathogenesis of major diseases, and may assist in developing new therapeutic strategies.Toxicology 12/2012; · 4.02 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Brains of patients affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD) contain large deposits of aggregated amyloid β-protein (Aβ). Only a small fraction of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gives rise to Aβ. Here, we report that ∼10% of APP undergoes a post-translational lipid modification called palmitoylation. We identified the palmitoylation sites in APP at Cys(186) and Cys(187). Surprisingly, point mutations introduced into these cysteines caused nearly complete ER retention of APP. Thus, either APP palmitoylation or disulfide bridges involving these Cys residues appear to be required for ER exit of APP. In later compartments, palmitoylated APP (palAPP) was specifically enriched in lipid rafts. In vitro BACE1 cleavage assays using cell or mouse brain lipid rafts showed that APP palmitoylation enhanced BACE1-mediated processing of APP. Interestingly, we detected an age-dependent increase in endogenous mouse brain palAPP levels. Overexpression of selected DHHC palmitoyl acyltransferases increased palmitoylation of APP and doubled Aβ production, while two palmitoylation inhibitors reduced palAPP levels and APP processing. We have found previously that acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) inhibition led to impaired APP processing. Here we demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition or genetic inactivation of ACAT decrease lipid raft palAPP levels by up to 76%, likely resulting in impaired APP processing. Together, our results indicate that APP palmitoylation enhances amyloidogenic processing by targeting APP to lipid rafts and enhancing its BACE1-mediated cleavage. Thus, inhibition of palAPP formation by ACAT or specific palmitoylation inhibitors would appear to be a valid strategy for prevention and/or treatment of AD.Journal of Neuroscience 07/2013; 33(27):11169-83. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The contribution of the autosomal dominant mutations to the etiology of familial Alzheimer's disease (AD) is well characterized. However, the molecular mechanisms contributing to sporadic AD are less well understood. Increased ceramide levels have been evident in AD patients. We previously reported that increased ceramide levels, regulated by increased serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT), directly mediate amyloid β (Aβ) levels. Therefore, we inhibited SPT in an AD mouse model (TgCRND8) through subcutaneous administration of L-cylcoserine. The cortical Aβ42 and hyperphosphorylated tau levels were down-regulated with the inhibition of SPT/ceramide. Positive correlations were observed among cortical SPT, ceramide, and Aβ42 levels. With no evident toxic effects observed, inhibition of SPT could be a safe therapeutic strategy to ameliorate the AD pathology. We previously observed that miR-137, -181c, -9, and 29a/b post-transcriptionally regulate SPT levels, and the corresponding miRNA levels in the blood sera are potential diagnostic biomarkers for AD. Here, we observe a negative correlation between cortical Aβ42 and sera Aβ42, and a positive correlation between cortical miRNA levels and sera miRNA levels suggesting their potential as noninvasive diagnostic biomarkers.Neurobiology of aging 03/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor