Paul E Fraser

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (254)1604.28 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The ATP-binding cassette transporter A7 (ABCA7) has been identified as a susceptibility factor of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) in Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). ABCA7 has been shown to mediate phagocytosis and affects membrane trafficking. The current study examines the impact of ABCA7 loss-offunction on amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing and generation of amyloid-β (Aβ). Suppression of endogenous ABCA7 in several different cell lines resulted in increased β-secretase cleavage and elevated Aβ. ABCA7 knockout mice displayed an increased production of endogenous murine amyloid Aβ42 species. Crossing ABCA7 deficient animals to an APP transgenic model resulted in significant increases in the soluble Aβ as compared to mice expressing normal levels of ABCA7. Only modest changes in the amount of insoluble Aβ and amyloid plaque densities were observed once the amyloid pathology was well developed while Aβ deposition was enhanced in younger animals. In vitro studies indicated a more rapid endocytosis of APP in ABCA7 knockout cells that is mechanistically consistent with the increased Aβ production. These in vitro and in vivo findings indicate a direct role of ABCA7 in amyloid processing, which may be associated with its primary biological function to regulate endocytic pathways. Several potential loss-of-function ABCA7 mutations and deletions linked to AD have recently been identified which, in some instances, have a great impact than ApoE allelic variants. A reduction in ABCA7 expression or loss of function would be predicted to increase amyloid production and that may be a contributing factor in the associated AD susceptibility. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2015; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M115.655076 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • N Wijesekara · R Ahrens · L Wu · K Ha · Y Liu · M B Wheeler · P E Fraser
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence points to the cytotoxicity of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) aggregates as a major contributor to the loss of beta cell mass in type 2 diabetes. Prevention of IAPP amyloid formation represents a potential treatment to increase beta cell survival and function. The IAPP inhibitory peptide, D-ANFLVH, had been previously shown to prevent islet amyloid accumulation in cultured human islets. To assess its activity in vivo, D-ANFLVH was administered by intraperitoneal injection into a human IAPP transgenic mouse model, which replicates type 2 diabetes islet amyloid pathology. The peptide was a potent inhibitor of islet amyloid deposition, resulting in reduced islet cell apoptosis and preservation of beta cell area leading to improved glucose tolerance. These findings provide support for a key role of islet amyloid in beta cell survival and validate the application of anti-amyloid compounds as therapeutic strategies to maintain normal insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism 06/2015; DOI:10.1111/dom.12529 · 5.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein synthesis is crucial for the maintenance of long-term-memory-related synaptic plasticity. The prion-like cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding protein 3 (CPEB3) regulates the translation of several mRNAs important for long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Here, we provide evidence that the prion-like aggregation and activity of CPEB3 is controlled by SUMOylation. In the basal state, CPEB3 is a repressor and is soluble. Under these circumstances, CPEB3 is SUMOylated in hippocampal neurons both in vitro and in vivo. Following neuronal stimulation, CPEB3 is converted into an active form that promotes the translation of target mRNAs, and this is associated with a decrease of SUMOylation and an increase of aggregation. A chimeric CPEB3 protein fused to SUMO cannot form aggregates and cannot activate the translation of target mRNAs. These findings suggest a model whereby SUMO regulates translation of mRNAs and structural synaptic plasticity by modulating the aggregation of the prion-like protein CPEB3. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell Reports 06/2015; 11(11). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.061 · 8.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 (SUMO1) plays a number of roles in cellular events and recent evidence has given momentum for its contributions to neuronal development and function. Here, we have generated a SUMO1 transgenic mouse model with exclusive overexpression in neurons in an effort to identify in vivo conjugation targets and the functional consequences of their SUMOylation. A high-expressing line was examined which displayed elevated levels of mono-SUMO1 and increased high molecular weight conjugates in all brain regions. Immunoprecipitation of SUMOylated proteins from total brain extract and proteomic analysis revealed ~95 candidate proteins from a variety of functional classes, including a number of synaptic and cytoskeletal proteins. SUMO1 modification of synaptotagmin-1 was found to be elevated as compared to non-transgenic mice. This observation was associated with an age-dependent reduction in basal synaptic transmission and impaired presynaptic function as shown by altered paired pulse facilitation, as well as a decrease in spine density. The changes in neuronal function and morphology were also associated with a specific impairment in learning and memory while other behavioral features remained unchanged. These findings point to a significant contribution of SUMO1 modification on neuronal function which may have implications for mechanisms involved in mental retardation and neurodegeneration.
    Scientific Reports 05/2015; 5:10730. DOI:10.1038/srep10730 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An expanded G4C2 repeat in C9orf72 represents the most common known genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). However, the lower limit for pathological expansions is unknown (the suggested cutoff is 30 repeats). It has been proposed that the expansion might have occurred only once in human history and subsequently spread throughout the population. However, our present findings support a hypothesis of multiple origins for the expansion. We report a British-Canadian family in whom a ∼70-repeat allele from the father (unaffected by ALS or FTLD at age 89 years) expanded during parent-offspring transmission and started the first generation affected by ALS (four children carry an ∼1,750-repeat allele). Epigenetic and RNA-expression analyses further discriminated the offspring's large expansions (which were methylated and associated with reduced C9orf72 expression) from the ∼70-repeat allele (which was unmethylated and associated with upregulation of C9orf72). Moreover, RNA foci were only detected in fibroblasts from offspring with large expansions, but not in the father, who has the ∼70-repeat allele. All family members with expansions were found to have an ancient known risk haplotype, although it was inherited on a unique 5-Mb genetic backbone. We conclude that small expansions (e.g., 70 repeats) might be considered "pre-mutations" to reflect their propensity to expand in the next generation. Follow-up studies might help explain the high frequency of ALS- or FTLD-affected individuals with an expansion but without a familial history (e.g., 21% among Finnish ALS subjects). Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2015; 96(6). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.04.016 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Islet transplantation is a promising therapy for patients with diabetes, but its long-term success is limited by many factors, including the formation of islet amyloid deposits. Heparin is employed in clinical islet transplantation to reduce clotting but also promotes fibrillization of amyloidogenic proteins. We hypothesized that heparin treatment of islets during pre-transplant culture may enhance amyloid formation leading to beta cell loss and graft dysfunction. Heparin promoted the fibrillization of human islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) and enhanced its toxicity to INS-1 beta cells. Heparin increased amyloid deposition in cultured human islets, but surprisingly decreased islet cell apoptosis. Treatment of human islets with heparin prior to transplantation increased the likelihood of graft failure. Removal of islet heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans, which localize with islet amyloid deposits in type 2 diabetes, by heparinase treatment decreased amyloid deposition and protected against islet cell death. These findings raise the possibility that pretransplant treatment of human islets with heparin could potentiate IAPP aggregation and amyloid formation and may be detrimental to subsequent graft function. © Copyright 2015 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
    American Journal of Transplantation 04/2015; 15(6). DOI:10.1111/ajt.13134 · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inherited variants in multiple different genes are associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In many of these genes, the inherited variants alter some aspect of the production or clearance of the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ). Thus missense, splice site or duplication mutants in the presenilin 1 (PS1), presenilin 2 (PS2) or the amyloid precursor protein (APP) genes, which alter the levels or shift the balance of Aβ produced, are associated with rare, highly penetrant autosomal dominant forms of Familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD). Similarly, the more prevalent late-onset forms of AD are associated with both coding and non-coding variants in genes such as SORL1, PICALM and ABCA7 that affect the production and clearance of Aβ. This review summarises some of the recent molecular and structural work on the role of these genes and the proteins coded by them in the biology of Aβ. We also briefly outline how the emerging knowledge about the pathways involved in Aβ generation and clearance can be potentially targeted therapeutically. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 03/2015; 301. DOI:10.1016/j.mcn.2015.02.016 · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The presenilin genes were first identified as the site of missense mutations causing early onset autosomal dominant familial Alzheimer's disease. Subsequent work has shown that the presenilin proteins are the catalytic subunits of a hetero-tetrameric complex containing APH1, nicastrin and PEN-2. This complex (variously termed presenilin complex or gamma-secretase complex) performs an unusual type of proteolysis in which the transmembrane domains of Type I proteins are cleaved within the hydrophobic compartment of the membrane. This review describes some of the molecular and structural biology of this unusual enzyme complex. The presenilin complex is a bilobed structure. The head domain contains the ectodomain of nicastrin. The base domain contains a central cavity with a lateral cleft that likely provides the route for access of the substrate to the catalytic cavity within the centre of the base domain. There are reciprocal allosteric interactions between various sites in the complex that affect its function. For instance, binding of Compound E, a peptidomimetic inhibitor to the PS1 N-terminus, induces significant conformational changes that reduces substrate binding at the initial substrate docking site, and thus inhibits substrate cleavage. However, there is a reciprocal allosteric interaction between these sites such that prior binding of the substrate to the initial docking site paradoxically increases the binding of the Compound E peptidomimetic inhibitor. Such reciprocal interactions are likely to form the basis of a gating mechanism that underlies access of substrate to the catalytic site. An increasingly detailed understanding of the structural biology of the presenilin complex is an essential step towards rational design of substrate- and/or cleavage site-specific modulators of presenilin complex function.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 12/2014; 9(1):59. DOI:10.1186/1750-1326-9-59 · 5.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by the aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides leading to deposition of senile plaques and a progressive decline of cognitive functions, which currently remains the main criterion for its diagnosis. Robust biomarkers for AD do not yet exist, although changes in the cerebrospinal fluid levels of tau and Aβ represent promising candidates in addition to brain imaging and genetic risk profiling. Although concentrations of soluble Aβ42 correlate with symptoms of AD, less is known about the biological activities of Aβ peptides which are generated from the amyloid-β protein precursor. An unbiased DNA microarray study showed that Aβ42, at sub-lethal concentrations, specifically increases expression of several genes in neuroblastoma cells, notably the insulin-like growth factor binding proteins 3 and 5 (IGFBP3/5), the transcription regulator inhibitor of DNA binding, and the transcription factor Lim only domain protein 4. Using qRT-PCR, we confirmed that mRNA levels of the identified candidate genes were exclusively increased by the potentially neurotoxic Aβ42 wild-type peptide, as both the less toxic Aβ40 and a non-toxic substitution peptide Aβ42 G33A did not affect mRNA levels. In vivo immunohistochemistry revealed a corresponding increase in both hippocampal and cortical IGFBP5 expression in an AD mouse model. Proteomic analyses of human AD cerebrospinal fluid displayed increased in vivo concentrations of IGFBPs. IGFBPs and transcription factors, as identified here, are modulated by soluble Aβ42 and may represent useful early biomarkers.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 10/2014; 44(2). DOI:10.3233/JAD-141902 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex and slowly progressing dementing disorder that results in neuronal and synaptic loss, deposition in brain of aberrantly folded proteins, and impairment of spatial and episodic memory. Most studies of mouse models of AD have employed analyses of cognitive status and assessment of amyloid burden, gliosis, and molecular pathology during disease progression. Here, we sought to understand the behavioral, cellular, ultrastructural, and molecular changes that occur at a pathological stage equivalent to early stages of human AD. We studied the TgCRND8 mouse, a model of aggressive AD amyloidosis, at an early stage of plaque pathology (3 months of age) in comparison to their wild-type littermates and assessed changes in cognition, neuron and spine structure, and expression of synaptic glutamate receptor proteins. We found that, at this age, TgCRND8 mice display substantial plaque deposition in the neocortex and hippocampus and impairment on cued and contextual memory tasks. Of particular interest, we also observed a significant decrease in the number of neurons in the hippocampus. Furthermore, analysis of CA1 neurons revealed significant changes in apical and basal dendritic spine types, as well as altered expression of GluN1 and GluA2 receptors. This change in molecular architecture within the hippocampus may reflect a rising representation of inherently less stable thin spine populations, which can cause cognitive decline. These changes, taken together with toxic insults from amyloid-β protein, may underlie the observed neuronal loss. J. Comp. Neurol., 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 07/2014; 522(10). DOI:10.1002/cne.23536 · 3.51 Impact Factor
  • Paul E Fraser
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    ABSTRACT: Prions are self-replicating protein aggregates and are the primary causative factor in a number of neurological diseases in mammals. The prion protein (PrP) undergoes a conformational transformation leading to aggregation into an infectious cellular pathogen. Prion-like protein spreading and transmission of aggregates between cells have also been demonstrated for other proteins associated with Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. This protein-only phenomenon may therefore have broader implications in neurodegenerative disorders. The minireviews in this thematic series highlight the recent advances in prion biology and the roles these unique proteins play in disease.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2014; 289(29). DOI:10.1074/jbc.R114.583492 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate a role of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in reducing cerebral soluble and insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. Short-term treatment of two human amyloid precursor protein-expressing models, Tg2576 and TgCRND8 mice, with 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3], the endogenous active ligand of VDR, resulted in higher brain P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and lower soluble Aβ levels, effects negated with coadministration of elacridar, a P-gp inhibitor. Long-term treatment of TgCRND8 mice with 1,25(OH)2D3 during the period of plaque formation reduced soluble and insoluble plaque-associated Aβ, particularly in the hippocampus in which the VDR is abundant and P-gp induction is greatest after 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment, and this led to improved conditioned fear memory. In mice fed a vitamin D-deficient diet, lower cerebral P-gp expression was observed, but levels were restored on replenishment with VDR ligands. The composite data suggest that the VDR is an important therapeutic target in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 05/2014; 34(21):7091-101. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2711-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The amyloid precursor protein (APP) and amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide play central roles in the pathology and etiology of Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid-induced impairments in neurogenesis have been investigated in several transgenic mouse models but the mechanism of action remains to be conclusively demonstrated. The changes in neurogenesis during this transition of increasing Aβ levels and plaque formation was investigated in the present study. We found that the proliferation of newborn cell in the dentate gyrus was enhanced prior to elevations in soluble Aβ production as well as amyloid deposition in 5 week-old TgCRND8 mice, which are well-established Alzheimer's disease models, compared to non-transgenic (Non-Tg) mice. The number of BrdU-positive cells remained higher in TgCRND8 vs Non-Tg mice for a period of 8 weeks. The numbers of BrdU/NeuN-positive cells were not significantly different in TgCRND8 compared to non-transgenic mice. A significant decrease in BrdU/GFAP but not in BrdU/S100β was found in Tg vs Non-Tg at 6 week-old age. In addition, a unique observation was made using isolated neuroprogenitor cells from TgCRND8 mice which were found to be less viable in culture and produced substantial amounts of secreted Aβ peptides. This suggests that the proliferation of neural progenitors in vivo may be modulated by high levels of APP expression and the resulting Aβ generated directly by the progenitor cells. These findings indicate that cell proliferation is increased prior to Aβ deposition and that cell viability is decreased in TgCRND8 mice over time.
    Neuroscience 12/2013; 261(100). DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.12.021 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive decline and is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Histopathologically, AD features insoluble aggregates of two proteins in the brain, amyloid-β (Aβ) and the microtubule-associated protein tau, both of which have been linked to the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO). A large body of research has elucidated many of the molecular and cellular pathways that underlie AD, including those involving the abnormal Aβ and tau aggregates. However, a full understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease has remained elusive. Consequently, there are currently no effective therapeutic options that can modify the disease progression and slow or stop the decline of cognitive functioning. As part of the effort to address this lacking, there needs a better understanding of the signaling pathways that become impaired under AD pathology, including the regulatory mechanisms that normally control those networks. One such mechanism involves SUMOylation, which is a post-translational modification (PTM) that is involved in regulating many aspects of cell biology and has also been found to have several critical neuron-specific roles. Early studies have indicated that the SUMO system is likely altered with AD-type pathology, which may impact Aβ levels and tau aggregation. Although still a relatively unexplored topic, SUMOylation will likely emerge as a significant factor in AD pathogenesis in ways which may be somewhat analogous to other regulatory PTMs such as phosphorylation. Thus, in addition to the upstream effects on tau and Aβ processing, there may also be downstream effects mediated by Aβ aggregates or other AD-related factors on SUMO-regulated signaling pathways. Multiple proteins that have functions relevant to AD pathology have been identified as SUMO substrates, including those involved in synaptic physiology, mitochondrial dynamics, and inflammatory signaling. Ongoing studies will determine how these SUMO-regulated functions in neurons and glial cells may be impacted by Aβ and AD pathology. Here, we present a review of the current literature on the involvement of SUMO in AD, as well as an overview of the SUMOylated proteins and pathways that are potentially dysregulated with AD pathogenesis.
    NeuroMolecular Medicine 12/2013; 15(4). DOI:10.1007/s12017-013-8257-7 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Presenilin-mediated endoproteolysis of transmembrane proteins plays a key role in physiological signaling and in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease and some cancers. Numerous inhibitors have been found via library screens, but their structural mechanisms remain unknown. We used several biophysical techniques to investigate the structure of human presenilin complexes and the effects of peptidomimetic γ-secretase inhibitors. The complexes are bilobed. The head contains nicastrin ectodomain. The membrane-embedded base has a central channel and a lateral cleft, which may represent the initial substrate docking site. Inhibitor binding induces widespread structural changes, including rotation of the head and closure of the lateral cleft. These changes block substrate access to the catalytic pocket and inhibit the enzyme. Intriguingly, peptide substrate docking has reciprocal effects on the inhibitor binding site. Similar reciprocal shifts may underlie the mechanisms of other inhibitors and of the "lateral gate" through which substrates access to the catalytic site.
    Structure 11/2013; 22(1). DOI:10.1016/j.str.2013.09.018 · 6.79 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

22k Citations
1,604.28 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1992–2015
    • University of Toronto
      • • Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
      • • Department of Medical Biophysics
      • • Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases
      • • Department of Medicine
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Valley Children's Hospital
      Мадера, California, United States
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2000
    • Chestnut Hill College
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997
    • Kingston General Hospital
      Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 1994
    • Università degli Studi di Torino
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy
  • 1993
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Chemistry
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1991–1992
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States