Sphingolipid Storage Affects Autophagic Metabolism of the Amyloid Precursor Protein and Promotes A Generation

Department of Neurology, University of Bonn, 53127 Bonn, Germany.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 02/2011; 31(5):1837-49. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2954-10.2011
Source: PubMed


Deposition of amyloid β peptides (Aβs) in extracellular amyloid plaques within the human brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ derives from proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. The initial cleavage by β-secretase results in shedding of the APP ectodomain and generation of APP C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs), which can then be further processed within the transmembrane domain by γ-secretase, resulting in release of Aβ. Here, we demonstrate that accumulation of sphingolipids (SLs), as occurs in lysosomal lipid storage disorders (LSDs), decreases the lysosome-dependent degradation of APP-CTFs and stimulates γ-secretase activity. Together, this results in increased generation of both intracellular and secreted Aβ. Notably, primary fibroblasts from patients with different SL storage diseases show strong accumulation of potentially amyloidogenic APP-CTFs. By using biochemical, cell biological, and genetic approaches, we demonstrate that SL accumulation affects autophagic flux and impairs the clearance of APP-CTFs. Thus, accumulation of SLs might not only underlie the pathogenesis of LSDs, but also trigger increased generation of Aβ and contribute to neurodegeneration in sporadic AD.

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    • "This was also observed in cellular and mouse models with impaired degradation of SLs that therefore resemble human LLSDs, including Niemann-Pick type A and B, Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease (Figure  2) [32,72,102]. The accumulation of lipids can impair lysosomal function and thereby lower the capacity of cells to degrade APP and its derivatives [32,103]. The genetic deletion of GD3 synthase and thereby inhibition of the biosynthesis of b-series gangliosides reduced Aβ deposition and improved memory deficits in APP transgenic mice [104]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is neuropathologically characterized by the combined occurrence of extracellular β-amyloid plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. While plaques contain aggregated forms of the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), tangles are formed by fibrillar forms of the microtubule associated protein tau. All mutations identified so far to cause familial forms of early onset AD (FAD) are localized close to or within the Aβ domain of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) or in the presenilin proteins that are essential components of a protease complex involved in the generation of Aβ. Mutations in the tau gene are not associated with FAD, but can cause other forms of dementia. The genetics of FAD together with biochemical and cell biological data, led to the formulation of the amyloid hypothesis, stating that accumulation and aggregation of Aβ is the primary event in the pathogenesis of AD, while tau might mediate its toxicity and neurodegeneration. The generation of Aβ involves sequential proteolytic cleavages of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by enzymes called β-and γ-secretases. Notably, APP itself as well as the secretases are integral membrane proteins. Thus, it is very likely that membrane lipids are involved in the regulation of subcellular transport, activity, and metabolism of AD related proteins. Indeed, several studies indicate that membrane lipids, including cholesterol and sphingolipids (SLs) affect Aβ generation and aggregation. Interestingly, APP and other AD associated proteins, including β-and γ-secretases can, in turn, influence lipid metabolic pathways. Here, we review the close connection of cellular lipid metabolism and AD associated proteins and discuss potential mechanisms that could contribute to initiation and progression of AD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Molecular Neurodegeneration
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    • "Recent works on BV2 cells, a murine microglial cell line which is a suitable model for in vitro study of microglia, hypothesized that the inflammatory response of microglia in AD brains is mediated via S1P [59]. Recently, Tamboli and coworkers [60] have demonstrated a very interesting link between the storage of sphingolipids and the pathogenesis of AD, starting from the evidence that the presence of autophagosomes in dystrophic neurites is common to brains from patients affected by AD. The authors indicate that the accumulation of sphingolipids plays a dual role in autophagy; while promoting the induction of autophagy, sphingolipid may also impair the turnover of autophagic vesicles, leading to their accumulation and consequently to the accumulation of APP. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sphingolipid metabolism is deeply regulated along the differentiation and development of the central nervous system (CNS), and the expression of a peculiar spatially and temporarily regulated sphingolipid pattern is essential for the maintenance of the functional integrity of the nervous system. Microglia are resident macrophages of the CNS involved in general maintenance of neural environment. Modulations in microglia phenotypes may contribute to pathogenic forms of inflammation. Since defects in macrophage/microglia activity contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, it will be essential to systematically identify the components of the microglial cell response that contribute to disease progression. In such complex processes, the sphingolipid systems have recently emerged to play important roles, thus appearing as a key new player in CNS disorders. This review provides a rationale for harnessing the sphingolipid metabolic pathway as a potential target against neuroinflammation.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Clinical and Developmental Immunology
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    • "Gamma-secretase activity was determined following previously described protocols with some modifications [62]. Briefly, membrane pellets from PS1/APP animals (n=6 per age) were thawed and resuspended (at 3 mg of protein per ml) in 150 mM Citrate Buffer, pH 6.4, containing protease inhibitors (Roche). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Axonal pathology might constitute one of the earliest manifestations of Alzheimer disease. Axonal dystrophies were observed in Alzheimer’s patients and transgenic models at early ages. These axonal dystrophies could reflect the disruption of axonal transport and the accumulation of multiple vesicles at local points. It has been also proposed that dystrophies might interfere with normal intracellular proteolysis. In this work, we have investigated the progression of the hippocampal pathology and the possible implication in Abeta production in young (6 months) and aged (18 months) PS1(M146L)/APP(751sl) transgenic mice. Results Our data demonstrated the existence of a progressive, age-dependent, formation of axonal dystrophies, mainly located in contact with congophilic Abeta deposition, which exhibited tau and neurofilament hyperphosphorylation. This progressive pathology was paralleled with decreased expression of the motor proteins kinesin and dynein. Furthermore, we also observed an early decrease in the activity of cathepsins B and D, progressing to a deep inhibition of these lysosomal proteases at late ages. This lysosomal impairment could be responsible for the accumulation of LC3-II and ubiquitinated proteins within axonal dystrophies. We have also investigated the repercussion of these deficiencies on the APP metabolism. Our data demonstrated the existence of an increase in the amyloidogenic pathway, which was reflected by the accumulation of hAPPfl, C99 fragment, intracellular Abeta in parallel with an increase in BACE and gamma-secretase activities. In vitro experiments, using APPswe transfected N2a cells, demonstrated that any imbalance on the proteolytic systems reproduced the in vivo alterations in APP metabolism. Finally, our data also demonstrated that Abeta peptides were preferentially accumulated in isolated synaptosomes. Conclusion A progressive age-dependent cytoskeletal pathology along with a reduction of lysosomal and, in minor extent, proteasomal activity could be directly implicated in the progressive accumulation of APP derived fragments (and Abeta peptides) in parallel with the increase of BACE-1 and gamma-secretase activities. This retard in the APP metabolism seemed to be directly implicated in the synaptic Abeta accumulation and, in consequence, in the pathology progression between synaptically connected regions.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Molecular Neurodegeneration
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