[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and irreversible neurodegenerative disorder. Familial AD (FAD) mutations in presenilins have been linked to calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling abnormalities. To explain these results, we previously proposed that presenilins function as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) passive Ca(2+) leak channels. To directly investigate the role of presenilins in neuronal ER Ca(2+) homeostasis, we here performed a series of Ca(2+) imaging experiments with primary neuronal cultures from conditional presenilin double-knock-out mice (PS1(dTAG/dTAG), PS2(-/-)) and from triple-transgenic AD mice (KI-PS1(M146V), Thy1-APP(KM670/671NL), Thy1-tau(P301L)). Obtained results provided additional support to the hypothesis that presenilins function as ER Ca(2+) leak channels in neurons. Interestingly, we discovered that presenilins play a major role in ER Ca(2+) leak function in hippocampal but not in striatal neurons. We further discovered that, in hippocampal neurons, loss of presenilin-mediated ER Ca(2+) leak function was compensated by an increase in expression and function of ryanodine receptors (RyanRs). Long-term feeding of the RyanR inhibitor dantrolene to amyloid precursor protein-presenilin-1 mice (Thy1-APP(KM670/671NL), Thy1-PS1(L166P)) resulted in an increased amyloid load, loss of synaptic markers, and neuronal atrophy in hippocampal and cortical regions. These results indicate that disruption of ER Ca(2+) leak function of presenilins may play an important role in AD pathogenesis.
Journal of Neuroscience 06/2010; 30(25):8566-80. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Segmentation of the vertebrate body axis is initiated through somitogenesis, whereby epithelial somites bud off in pairs periodically from the rostral end of the unsegmented presomitic mesoderm (PSM). The periodicity of somitogenesis is governed by a molecular oscillator that drives periodic waves of clock gene expression caudo-rostrally through the PSM with a periodicity that matches somite formation. To date the clock genes comprise components of the Notch, Wnt, and FGF pathways. The literature contains controversial reports as to the absolute role(s) of Notch signalling during the process of somite formation. Recent data in the zebrafish have suggested that the only role of Notch signalling is to synchronise clock gene oscillations across the PSM and that somite formation can continue in the absence of Notch activity. However, it is not clear in the mouse if an FGF/Wnt-based oscillator is sufficient to generate segmented structures, such as the somites, in the absence of all Notch activity. We have investigated the requirement for Notch signalling in the mouse somitogenesis clock by analysing embryos carrying a mutation in different components of the Notch pathway, such as Lunatic fringe (Lfng), Hes7, Rbpj, and presenilin1/presenilin2 (Psen1/Psen2), and by pharmacological blocking of the Notch pathway. In contrast to the fish studies, we show that mouse embryos lacking all Notch activity do not show oscillatory activity, as evidenced by the absence of waves of clock gene expression across the PSM, and they do not develop somites. We propose that, at least in the mouse embryo, Notch activity is absolutely essential for the formation of a segmented body axis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulated intramembrane proteolysis by gamma-secretase cleaves proteins in their transmembrane domain and is involved in important signaling pathways. At least four different gamma-secretase complexes have been identified, but little is known about their biological role and specificity. Previous work has demonstrated the involvement of the Aph1A-gamma-secretase complex in Notch signaling, but no specific function could be assigned to Aph1B/C-gamma-secretase. We demonstrate here that the Aph1B/C-gamma-secretase complex is expressed in brain areas relevant to schizophrenia pathogenesis and that Aph1B/C deficiency causes pharmacological and behavioral abnormalities that can be reversed by antipsychotic drugs. At the molecular level we find accumulation of Nrg1 fragments in the brain of Aph1BC(-/-) mice. Our observations gain clinical relevance by the demonstration that a Val-to-Leu mutation in the Nrg1 transmembrane domain, associated with increased risk for schizophrenia, affects gamma-secretase cleavage of Nrg1. This finding suggests that dysregulation of intramembrane proteolysis of Nrg1 could increase risk for schizophrenia and related disorders.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2008; 105(28):9775-80. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the past decade we have witnessed an epidemic of obesity in developed countries. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms involved in regulation of body weight is becoming an increasingly important goal shared by the public and the scientific community. The key to fat deposition is the adipocyte, a specialized cell that plays a critical role in energy balance and appetite regulation. Much of our knowledge of adipogenesis comes from studies using preadipocytic cell lines that have provided important information regarding molecular control of adipocyte differentiation. However, they fall short of revealing how naive cells acquire competence for adipogenesis. Studies in preadipocytes indicate that the Notch pathway plays a role in regulating adipogenesis (Garces et al.: J Biol Chem 272:29729-29734, 1997). Given the known biological functions of Notch in mediating cell fate decisions (Artavanis-Tsakonas et al.: Science 284:770-776, 1999), we wished to test the hypothesis that the Notch pathway is required for this cellular program by examining adipogenesis in several genetic loss-of-function models that encompass the entire pathway. We conclude that the "canonical" Notch signaling pathway is dispensable for adipocyte specification and differentiation from either mesenchymal or epithelial progenitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Presenilins are part of the gamma-secretase complex that is involved in the regulated intramembrane proteolysis of amyloid precursor protein and other type I integral membrane proteins. Nicastrin, Pen-2, and Aph1 are the other proteins of this complex. The Presenilins probably contribute the catalytic activity to the protease complex. However, several investigators reported normal Abeta-peptide generation in cells expressing Presenilins mutated at the putative catalytic site residue Asp-257, contradicting this hypothesis. Because endogenously expressed wild type Presenilin could contribute to residual gamma-secretase activity in these experiments, we have reinvestigated the problem by expressing mutated Presenilins in a Presenilin-negative cell line. We confirm that Presenilins with mutated Asp residues are catalytically inactive. Unexpectedly, these mutated Presenilins are still partially processed into amino- and carboxyl-terminal fragments by a "Presenilinase"-like activity. They are also able to rescue Pen-2 expression and Nicastrin glycosylation in Presenilin-negative cells and become incorporated into large approximately 440-kDa complexes as assessed by blue native gel electrophoresis. Our study demonstrates that the catalytic activity of Presenilin and its other functions in the generation, stabilization, and transport of the gamma-secretase complex can be separated and extends the concept that Presenilins are multifunctional proteins.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2003; 278(44):43430-6. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicastrin and presenilin are two major components of the gamma-secretase complex, which executes the intramembrane proteolysis of type I integral membrane proteins such as the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and Notch. Nicastrin is synthesized in fibroblasts and neurons as an endoglycosidase-H-sensitive glycosylated precursor protein (immature nicastrin) and is then modified by complex glycosylation in the Golgi apparatus and by sialylation in the trans-Golgi network (mature nicastrin). These modifications are not observed with exogenously overexpressed nicastrin. Under normal cell culture conditions, only mature nicastrin is expressed at the cell surface and binds to the presenilin heterodimers. Mature nicastrin has a half-life of more than 24 hours. In the absence of presenilin 1 and 2, nicastrin remains entirely endoglycosidase H sensitive, is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum and is slowly degraded. Single presenilin 1 or presenilin 2 deficiency affects glycosylation of nicastrin to a lesser extent than the combined presenilin deficiencies, suggesting a correlation between either the transport of nicastrin out of the endoplasmic reticulum or the concomitant complex glycosylation of nicastrin, and gamma-secretase activity. However, when complex glycosylation of nicastrin was inhibited using mannosidase I inhibitors, gamma-secretase cleavage of APP or Notch was not inhibited and the immature nicastrin still associates with presenilin and appears at the cell surface. Complex glycosylation of nicastrin is therefore not needed for gamma-secretase activity. Because the trafficking of nicastrin to the Golgi apparatus is dependent on presenilins, our data point to a central role of presenilin in nicastrin maturation/localization, which could help to partially resolve the 'spatial paradox'.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metalloprotease ADAM 10 is an important APP alpha-secretase candidate, but in vivo proof of this is lacking. Furthermore, invertebrate models point towards a key role of the ADAM 10 orthologues Kuzbanian and sup-17 in Notch signalling. In the mouse, this function is, however, currently attributed to ADAM 17/TACE, while the role of ADAM 10 remains unknown. We have created ADAM 10-deficient mice. They die at day 9.5 of embryogenesis with multiple defects of the developing central nervous system, somites, and cardiovascular system. In situ hybridization revealed a reduced expression of the Notch target gene hes-5 in the neural tube and an increased expression of the Notch ligand dll-1, supporting an important role for ADAM 10 in Notch signalling in the vertebrates as well. Since the early lethality precluded the establishment of primary neuronal cultures, APPs alpha generation was analyzed in embryonic fibroblasts and found to be preserved in 15 out of 17 independently generated ADAM 10-deficient fibroblast cell lines, albeit at a quantitatively more variable level than in controls, whereas a severe reduction was found in only two cases. The variability was not due to differences in genetic background or to variable expression of the alternative alpha-secretase candidates ADAM 9 and ADAM 17. These results indicate, therefore, either a regulation between ADAMs on the post-translational level or that other, not yet known, proteases are able to compensate for ADAM 10 deficiency. Thus, the observed variability, together with recent reports on tissue-specific expression patterns of ADAMs 9, 10 and 17, points to the existence of tissue-specific 'teams' of different proteases exerting alpha-secretase activity.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/2002; 11(21):2615-24. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the homologous presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 (PS2) genes cause the most common and aggressive form of familial
Alzheimer’s disease. Although PS1 function and dysfunction have been extensively studied, little is known about the function
of PS2 in vivo. To delineate the relationships of PS2 and PS1 activities and whether PS2 mutations involve gain or loss of function, we
generated PS2 homozygous deficient (−/−) and PS1/PS2 double homozygous deficient mice. In contrast to PS1−/− mice, PS2−/− mice are viable and fertile and develop only mild pulmonary fibrosis and hemorrhage with age. Absence of PS2 does not detectably
alter processing of amyloid precursor protein and has little or no effect on physiologically important apoptotic processes,
indicating that Alzheimer’s disease-causing mutations in PS2, as in PS1, result in gain of function. Although PS1+/− PS2 −/− mice survive in relatively good health, complete deletion of both PS2 and PS1 genes causes a phenotype closely resembling
full Notch-1 deficiency. These results demonstrate in vivo that PS1 and PS2 have partially overlapping functions and that PS1 is essential and PS2 is redundant for normal Notch signaling
during mammalian embryological development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/1999; 96(21):11872-11877. · 9.81 Impact Factor