Yawen Luo

University of British Columbia - Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Publications (3)6.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS), caused by trisomy of chromosome 21, inevitably develop characteristic Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology, including neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Amyloid-β protein, the major component of neuritic plaques, is the proteolytic product of amyloid-β precursor protein (APP). APP and the regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) genes on chromosome 21 play a pivotal role in promoting plaque formation and neuronal apoptosis. However, the mechanism underlying AD pathogenesis in DS is not well defined. In this study, we demonstrated that APP significantly increased RCAN1 level in both cells and transgenic mice. Overexpression of APP significantly reduced the expression of 2 proteasome subunits, proteasome subunit α type-5 and proteasome subunit β type-7, leading to the inhibition of proteasomal degradation of RCAN1. Furthermore, knockdown of RCAN1 expression attenuated APP-induced neuronal apoptosis. Taken together, the results clearly showed that APP has a previously unknown function in regulating RCAN1-mediated neuronal apoptosis through the proteasome pathway. Our study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which overexpression of APP and RCAN1 causes neurodegeneration and AD pathogenesis in DS, and it provides new insights into the potential of targeting APP-induced proteasomal impairment and RCAN1 accumulation for AD and DS treatment.
    Neurobiology of aging. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein. The expansion of cytosine-adenine-guanine repeats results in neuronal loss in the striatum and cortex. Mutant huntingtin (HTT) may cause toxicity via a range of different mechanisms. Recent studies indicate that impairment of wild-type HTT function may also contribute to HD pathogenesis. However, the mechanisms regulating HTT expression have not been well defined. In this study, we cloned 1,795 bp of the 5' flanking region of the human huntingtin gene (htt) and identified a 106-bp fragment containing the transcription start site as the minimal region necessary for promoter activity. Sequence analysis reveals several putative regulatory elements including Sp1, NF-κB, HIF, CREB, NRSF, P53, YY1, AP1, and STAT in the huntingtin promoter. We found functional Sp1 response elements in the huntingtin promoter region. The expression of Sp1 enhanced huntingtin gene transcription and the inhibition of Sp1-mediated transcriptional activation reduced huntingtin gene expression. These results suggest that Sp1 plays an important role in the regulation of the human huntingtin gene expression at the mRNA and protein levels. Our study suggests that the dysregulation of Sp1-mediated huntingtin transcription, combining with mutant huntingtin's detrimental effect on other Sp1-mediated downstream gene function, may contribute to the pathogenesis of HD.
    Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 03/2012; 47(2):311-21. · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deposition of amyloid β protein (Aβ) in the brain is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Beta-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the β-secretase in vivo essential for generation of Aβ. Previously we demonstrated that BACE1 is ubiquitinated and the degradation of BACE1 is mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP). However the mechanism underlying regulation of BACE1 degradation by UPP remains elusive. Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) is a deubiquitinating enzyme highly specific to neuron, catalyzing the hydrolysis of ubiquitin conjugates from ubiquitinated substrates. UCHL1 regulates ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation. However, whether UCHL1 is particularly involved in the proteasomal degradation of BACE1 and what is the role of UCHL1 in AD pathogenesis remain elusive. To investigate the effect of UCHL1 on BACE1 degradation, HUCH cells, a UCHL1 stably over-expressed HEK293 cell line, was established. We found that inhibition of UCHL1 significantly increased BACE1 protein level in a time-dependent manner. Half life of BACE1 was reduced in HUCH cells compared with HEK. Over-expression of UCHL1 decreased APP C-terminal fragment C99 and Aβ levels in HUCH cells. Moreover, disruption of Uchl1 gene significantly elevated levels of endogenous BACE1, C99 and Aβ in the Uchl1-null gad mice. These results demonstrated that UCHL1 accelerates BACE1 degradation and affects APP processing and Aβ production. This study suggests that potentiation of UCHL1 might be able to reduce the level of BACE1 and Aβ in brain, which makes it a novel target for AD drug development.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 12/2011; 120(6):1129-38. · 3.97 Impact Factor