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.
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ABSTRACT: Amyloid β-protein (Aβ) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, the most common age-associated neurodegenerative disorder. Aβ is generated through intramembrane proteolysis of the β-carboxyl terminal fragment (βCTF) of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by γ-secretase. The initial cleavage by γ-secretase occurs in the membrane/cytoplasm boundary of the βCTF, liberating the APP intracellular domain (AICD). The remaining βCTFs, which are truncated at the C-terminus (longer Aβs), are then cropped sequentially in a stepwise manner, predominantly at three residue intervals, to generate Aβ. There are two major Aβ product lines which generate Aβ40 and Aβ42 with concomitant release of three and two tripeptides, respectively. Additionally, many alternative cleavages occur, releasing peptides with three to six residues. These modulate the Aβ product lines and define the species and quantity of Aβ generated. Here, we review our current understanding of the intramembrane cleavage of the βCTF by γ-secretase, which may contribute to the future goal of developing an efficient therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease.Frontiers in Physiology 11/2014; 5:463. DOI:10.3389/fphys.2014.00463
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ABSTRACT: Ginsenoside Rh2 (Rh2) is a ginseng derivative used in Chinese traditional medicine. We investigated whether Rh2 can help prevent Alzheimer's disease symptoms and examined underlying mechanisms. We injected Rh2 into tg2576 Alzheimer's disease model mice and looked for behavioral improvement and senile plaque reduction in brain slices. We measured amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism species changes, amyloid beta40 and 42 levels and β, γ secretase activity in primary hippocampal neurons. By living cell staining, we detected surface and endocytosed APP. We also measured cholesterol and lipid rafts in primary neurons. Rh2 treatment significantly improved learning and memory performance at 14 months of age; it also reduced brain senile plaques at this age. Based on in vitro experiments, we found that Rh2 treatment increased soluble APPα (sAPPα) levels, increased CTFα/β ratios, and reduced amyloid beta 40 and 42 concentrations. Surface APP levels dramatically increased. Based on living cell staining, we found that Rh2 inhibited APP endocytosis. Based on lipid removal and reload experiments, we found that Rh2 can modulate APP by reducing cholesterol and lipid raft levels. We concluded that Rh2 improves learning and memory function in Alzheimer's disease model mice, and that this improvement is accomplished by reducing amyloid beta secretion and APP endocytosis, which in turn is achieved by reducing cholesterol and lipid raft concentrations.Genetics and molecular research: GMR 01/2014; 13(2):3586-98. DOI:10.4238/2014.May.9.2 · 0.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Presenilin-1 (PS1) is the catalytic component of the γ-secretase complex. In this study, we explore if PS1 participates in the processing of the cholinergic acetylcholinesterase (AChE). The major AChE variant expressed in the brain is a tetramer (G4) bound to a proline-rich membrane anchor (PRiMA). Overexpression of the transmembrane PRiMA protein in Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing AChE and treated with the γ-secretase inhibitor N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester have enabled us to study whether, through its γ-secretase activity, PS1 participates in the processing of PRiMA-linked AChE. γ-Secretase inhibition led to a notable increase in the level of PRiMA-linked AChE, suggesting that γ-secretase is involved in the cleavage of PRiMA. We demonstrate that cleavage of PRiMA by γ-secretase results in a C-terminal PRiMA fragment. Immunofluorescence labeling allowed us to identify this PRiMA fragment in the nucleus. Moreover, we have determined changes in the proportion of the raft-residing AChE-PRiMA in a PS1 conditional knockout mouse. Our results are of interest as both enzymes have therapeutic relevance for Alzheimer's disease.Neurobiology of aging 02/2014; 35(7). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.01.147 · 5.94 Impact Factor