Hypoxia facilitates Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis by up-regulating BACE1 gene expression.
ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of the majority of cases of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unknown. A history of stroke was found to be associated with development of some AD cases, especially in the presence of vascular risk factors. Reduced cerebral perfusion is a common vascular component among AD risk factors, and hypoxia is a direct consequence of hypoperfusion. Previously we showed that expression of the beta-site beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleavage enzyme 1 (BACE1) gene BACE1 is tightly controlled at both the transcriptional and translational levels and that increased BACE1 maturation contributes to the AD pathogenesis in Down's syndrome. Here we have identified a functional hypoxia-responsive element in the BACE1 gene promoter. Hypoxia up-regulated beta-secretase cleavage of APP and amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) production by increasing BACE1 gene transcription and expression both in vitro and in vivo. Hypoxia treatment markedly increased Abeta deposition and neuritic plaque formation and potentiated the memory deficit in Swedish mutant APP transgenic mice. Taken together, our results clearly demonstrate that hypoxia can facilitate AD pathogenesis, and they provide a molecular mechanism linking vascular factors to AD. Our study suggests that interventions to improve cerebral perfusion may benefit AD patients.
Project description:Amyloid plaques, composed of the amyloid beta-protein (Abeta), are hallmark neuropathological lesions in Alzheimer disease (AD) brain. Abeta fulfills a central role in AD pathogenesis, and reduction of Abeta levels should prove beneficial for AD treatment. Abeta generation is initiated by proteolysis of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by the beta-secretase enzyme BACE1. Bace1 knockout (Bace1(-/-)) mice have validated BACE1 as the authentic beta-secretase in vivo. BACE1 is essential for Abeta generation and represents a suitable drug target for AD therapy, especially because this enzyme is up-regulated in AD. However, although initial data indicated that Bace1(-/-) mice lack an overt phenotype, the BACE1-mediated processing of APP and other substrates may be important for specific biological processes. In this minireview, topics range from the initial identification of BACE1 to the fundamental knowledge gaps that remain in our understanding of this protease. We address pertinent questions such as putative causes of BACE1 elevation in AD and discuss why, nine years since the identification of BACE1, treatments that address the underlying pathological mechanisms of AD are still lacking.
Project description:Amyloid-beta (Abeta) the primary component of the senile plaques found in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is generated by the rate-limiting cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by beta-secretase followed by gamma-secretase cleavage. Identification of the primary beta-secretase gene, BACE1, provides a unique opportunity to examine the role this unique aspartyl protease plays in altering Abeta metabolism and deposition that occurs in AD. The current experiments seek to examine how modulating beta-secretase expression and activity alters APP processing and Abeta metabolism in vivo. Genomic-based BACE1 transgenic mice were generated that overexpress human BACE1 mRNA and protein. The highest expressing BACE1 transgenic line was mated to transgenic mice containing human APP transgenes. Our biochemical and histochemical studies demonstrate that mice overexpressing both BACE1 and APP show specific alterations in APP processing and age-dependent Abeta deposition. We observed elevated levels of Abeta isoforms as well as significant increases of Abeta deposits in these double transgenic animals. In particular, the double transgenics exhibited a unique cortical deposition profile, which is consistent with a significant increase of BACE1 expression in the cortex relative to other brain regions. Elevated BACE1 expression coupled with increased deposition provides functional evidence for beta-secretase as a primary effector in regional amyloid deposition in the AD brain. Our studies demonstrate, for the first time, that modulation of BACE1 activity may play a significant role in AD pathogenesis in vivo.
Project description:A transmembrane aspartyl protease termed beta-site APP cleavage enzyme 1 (BACE1) that cleaves the amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP), which is abundant in neurons, is required for the generation of amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We now demonstrate that BACE1, enriched in neurons of the CNS, is a major determinant that predisposes the brain to Abeta amyloidogenesis. The physiologically high levels of BACE1 activity coupled with low levels of BACE2 and alpha-secretase anti-amyloidogenic activities in neurons is a major contributor to the accumulation of Abeta in the CNS, whereas other organs are spared. Significantly, deletion of BACE1 in APPswe;PS1DeltaE9 mice prevents both Abeta deposition and age-associated cognitive abnormalities that occur in this model of Abeta amyloidosis. Moreover, Abeta deposits are sensitive to BACE1 dosage and can be efficiently cleared from the CNS when BACE1 is silenced. However, BACE1 null mice manifest alterations in hippocampal synaptic plasticity as well as in performance on tests of cognition and emotion. Importantly, memory deficits but not emotional alterations in BACE1(-/-) mice are prevented by coexpressing APPswe;PS1DeltaE9 transgenes, indicating that other potential substrates of BACE1 may affect neural circuits related to emotion. Our results establish BACE1 and APP processing pathways as critical for cognitive, emotional, and synaptic functions, and future studies should be alert to potential mechanism-based side effects that may occur with BACE1 inhibitors designed to ameliorate Abeta amyloidosis in AD.
Project description:beta-site APP cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1), the rate-limiting enzyme for beta-amyloid (Abeta) production, is elevated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we show that energy deprivation induces phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2alpha (eIF2alpha-P), which increases the translation of BACE1. Salubrinal, an inhibitor of eIF2alpha-P phosphatase PP1c, directly increases BACE1 and elevates Abeta production in primary neurons. Preventing eIF2alpha phosphorylation by transfection with constitutively active PP1c regulatory subunit, dominant-negative eIF2alpha kinase PERK, or PERK inhibitor P58(IPK) blocks the energy-deprivation-induced BACE1 increase. Furthermore, chronic treatment of aged Tg2576 mice with energy inhibitors increases levels of eIF2alpha-P, BACE1, Abeta, and amyloid plaques. Importantly, eIF2alpha-P and BACE1 are elevated in aggressive plaque-forming 5XFAD transgenic mice, and BACE1, eIF2alpha-P, and amyloid load are correlated in humans with AD. These results strongly suggest that eIF2alpha phosphorylation increases BACE1 levels and causes Abeta overproduction, which could be an early, initiating molecular mechanism in sporadic AD.
Project description:Seladin-1 is a neuroprotective protein selectively down-regulated in brain regions affected in Alzheimer disease (AD). Seladin-1 protects cells against beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide 42- and oxidative stress-induced apoptosis activated by caspase-3, a key mediator of apoptosis. Here, we have employed RNA interference to assess the molecular effects of seladin-1 down-regulation on the beta-secretase (BACE1) function and beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells in both normal and apoptotic conditions. Our results show that approximately 60% reduction in seladin-1 protein levels, resembling the decrease observed in AD brain, did not significantly affect APP processing or Abeta secretion in normal growth conditions. However, under apoptosis, seladin-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA)-transfected cells showed increased caspase-3 activity on average by 2-fold when compared with control siRNA-transfected cells. Increased caspase-3 activity coincided with a significant depletion of the BACE1-sorting protein, GGA3 (Golgi-localized gamma-ear-containing ADP-ribosylation factor-binding protein), and subsequently augmented BACE1 protein levels and activity. Augmented BACE1 activity in turn correlated with the enhanced beta-amyloidogenic processing of APP and ultimately increased Abeta production. These adverse changes associated with decreased cell viability in seladin-1 siRNA-transfected cells under apoptosis. No changes in GGA3 or BACE1 levels were found after seladin-1 knockdown in normal growth conditions. Collectively, our results suggest that under stress conditions, reduced seladin-1 expression results in enhanced GGA3 depletion, which further leads to augmented post-translational stabilization of BACE1 and increased beta-amyloidogenic processing of APP. These mechanistic findings related to seladin-1 down-regulation are important in the context of AD as the oxidative stress-induced apoptosis plays a key role in the disease pathogenesis.
Project description:The beta-site APP cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1) mediates the first cleavage of the beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) to yield the amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta), a key pathogenic agent in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using a proteomic approach based on in-cell chemical cross-linking and tandem affinity purification (TAP), we herein identify sorting nexin 6 (SNX6) as a BACE1-associated protein. SNX6, a PX domain protein, is a putative component of retromer, a multiprotein cargo complex that mediates the retrograde trafficking of the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-MPR) and sortilin. RNA interference suppression of SNX6 increased BACE1-dependent secretion of soluble APP (sAPPbeta) and cell-associated fragments (C99), resulting in increased Abeta secretion. Furthermore, SNX6 reduction led to elevated steady-state BACE1 levels as well as increased retrograde transport of BACE1 in the endocytic pathway, suggesting that SNX6 modulates the retrograde trafficking and basal levels of BACE1, thereby regulating BACE1-mediated APP processing and Abeta biogenesis. Our study identifies a novel cellular pathway by which SNX6 negatively modulates BACE1-mediated cleavage of APP.
Project description:The sporadic nature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) argues for an environmental link that may drive AD pathogenesis; however, the triggering factors and the period of their action are unknown. Recent studies in rodents have shown that exposure to lead (Pb) during brain development predetermined the expression and regulation of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its amyloidogenic beta-amyloid (Abeta) product in old age. Here, we report that the expression of AD-related genes [APP, BACE1 (beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1)] as well as their transcriptional regulator (Sp1) were elevated in aged (23-year-old) monkeys exposed to Pb as infants. Furthermore, developmental exposure to Pb altered the levels, characteristics, and intracellular distribution of Abeta staining and amyloid plaques in the frontal association cortex. These latent effects were accompanied by a decrease in DNA methyltransferase activity and higher levels of oxidative damage to DNA, indicating that epigenetic imprinting in early life influenced the expression of AD-related genes and promoted DNA damage and pathogenesis. These data suggest that AD pathogenesis is influenced by early life exposures and argue for both an environmental trigger and a developmental origin of AD.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an intractable, neurodegenerative disease that appears to be brought about by both genetic and non-genetic factors. The neuropathology associated with AD is complex, although amyloid plaques composed of the beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta) are hallmark neuropathological lesions of AD brain. Indeed, Abeta plays an early and central role in this disease. beta-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the initiating enzyme in Abeta genesis and BACE1 levels are elevated under a variety of conditions. Given the strong correlation between Abeta and AD, and the elevation of BACE1 in this disease, this enzyme is a prime drug target for inhibiting Abeta production in AD. However, nine years on from the initial identification of BACE1, and despite intense research, a number of key questions regarding BACE1 remain unanswered. Indeed, drug discovery and development for AD continues to be challenging. While current AD therapies temporarily slow cognitive decline, treatments that address the underlying pathologic mechanisms of AD are completely lacking. Here we review the basic biology of BACE1. We pay special attention to recent research that has provided some answers to questions such as those involving the identification of novel BACE1 substrates, the potential causes of BACE1 elevation and the putative function of BACE1 in health and disease. Our increasing understanding of BACE1 biology should aid the development of compounds that interfere with BACE1 expression and activity and may lead to the generation of novel therapeutics for AD.
Project description:Reactive astrocytes and microglia in Alzheimer's disease surround amyloid plaques and secrete proinflammatory cytokines that affect neuronal function. Relationship between cytokine signaling and amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) accumulation is poorly understood. Thus, we generated a novel Swedish beta-amyloid precursor protein mutant (APP) transgenic mouse in which the interferon (IFN)-gamma receptor type I was knocked out (APP/GRKO). IFN-gamma signaling loss in the APP/GRKO mice reduced gliosis and amyloid plaques at 14 months of age. Aggregated Abeta induced IFN-gamma production from co-culture of astrocytes and microglia, and IFN-gamma elicited tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha secretion in wild type (WT) but not GRKO microglia co-cultured with astrocytes. Both IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha enhanced Abeta production from APP-expressing astrocytes and cortical neurons. TNF-alpha directly stimulated beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme (BACE1) expression and enhanced beta-processing of APP in astrocytes. The numbers of reactive astrocytes expressing BACE1 were increased in APP compared with APP/GRKO mice in both cortex and hippocampus. IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha activation of WT microglia suppressed Abeta degradation, whereas GRKO microglia had no changes. These results support the idea that glial IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha enhance Abeta deposition through BACE1 expression and suppression of Abeta clearance. Taken together, these observations suggest that proinflammatory cytokines are directly linked to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis.
Project description:Epidemiological, clinical and experimental evidence suggests a link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Insulin modulates metabolism of beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) in neurons, decreasing the intracellular accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides, which are pivotal in AD pathogenesis. The present study investigates whether the widely prescribed insulin-sensitizing drug, metformin (Glucophage(R)), affects APP metabolism and Abeta generation in various cell models. We demonstrate that metformin, at doses that lead to activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), significantly increases the generation of both intracellular and extracellular Abeta species. Furthermore, the effect of metformin on Abeta generation is mediated by transcriptional up-regulation of beta-secretase (BACE1), which results in an elevated protein level and increased enzymatic activity. Unlike insulin, metformin exerts no effect on Abeta degradation. In addition, we found that glucose deprivation and various tyrphostins, known inhibitors of insulin-like growth factors/insulin receptor tyrosine kinases, do not modulate the effect of metformin on Abeta. Finally, inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by the pharmacological inhibitor Compound C largely suppresses metformin's effect on Abeta generation and BACE1 transcription, suggesting an AMPK-dependent mechanism. Although insulin and metformin display opposing effects on Abeta generation, in combined use, metformin enhances insulin's effect in reducing Abeta levels. Our findings suggest a potentially harmful consequence of this widely prescribed antidiabetic drug when used as a monotherapy in elderly diabetic patients.