Deficiency of Neuronal p38α MAPK Attenuates Amyloid Pathology in Alzheimer Disease Mouse and Cell Models through Facilitating Lysosomal Degradation of BACE1.
ABSTRACT: Amyloid β (Aβ) damages neurons and triggers microglial inflammatory activation in the Alzheimer disease (AD) brain. BACE1 is the primary enzyme in Aβ generation. Neuroinflammation potentially up-regulates BACE1 expression and increases Aβ production. In Alzheimer amyloid precursor protein-transgenic mice and SH-SY5Y cell models, we specifically knocked out or knocked down gene expression of mapk14, which encodes p38α MAPK, a kinase sensitive to inflammatory and oxidative stimuli. Using immunological and biochemical methods, we observed that reduction of p38α MAPK expression facilitated the lysosomal degradation of BACE1, decreased BACE1 protein and activity, and subsequently attenuated Aβ generation in the AD mouse brain. Inhibition of p38α MAPK also enhanced autophagy. Blocking autophagy by treating cells with 3-methyladenine or overexpressing dominant-negative ATG5 abolished the deficiency of the p38α MAPK-induced BACE1 protein reduction in cultured cells. Thus, our study demonstrates that p38α MAPK plays a critical role in the regulation of BACE1 degradation and Aβ generation in AD pathogenesis.
Project description:β-amyloid protein (Aβ) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Aβ is generated from sequential cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and the γ-secretase complex. Although activation of some protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms such as PKCα and ε has been shown to regulate nonamyloidogenic pathways and Aβ degradation, it is unclear whether other PKC isoforms are involved in APP processing/AD pathogenesis. In this study, we report that increased PKCδ levels correlate with BACE1 expression in the AD brain. PKCδ knockdown reduces BACE1 expression, BACE1-mediated APP processing, and Aβ production. Conversely, overexpression of PKCδ increases BACE1 expression and Aβ generation. Importantly, inhibition of PKCδ by rottlerin markedly reduces BACE1 expression, Aβ levels, and neuritic plaque formation and rescues cognitive deficits in an APP Swedish mutations K594N/M595L/presenilin-1 with an exon 9 deletion-transgenic AD mouse model. Our study indicates that PKCδ plays an important role in aggravating AD pathogenesis, and PKCδ may be a potential target in AD therapeutics.
Project description:Dysregulated autophagic-lysosomal degradation of proteins has been linked to the most common genetic defect in familial Alzheimer disease, and has been correlated with disease progression in both human disease and in animal models. Recently, it was demonstrated that the expression of MAPK14/p38α protein is upregulated in the brain of APP-PS1 transgenic Alzheimer mouse and further that genetic deficiency of Mapk14 in the APP-PS1 mouse stimulates macroautophagy/autophagy, which then leads to reduced amyloid pathology via increasing autophagic-lysosomal degradation of BACE1. The findings resolve at least in the context of the APP-PS1 mouse, prior conflicting in vitro observations that have implicated MAPK14 in autophagic processes, and indicate that inhibition of MAPK14 enzyme activity has potential as a therapeutic approach to mitigate a critical physiological defect within neurons of the Alzheimer disease brain. Moreover, the findings suggest that biomarkers of BACE1 activity could be utilized to evaluate the effects of MAPK14 inhibition and other autophagy-inducing therapeutic approaches in human clinical studies, thereby potentially facilitating the clinical development of such agents.
Project description:Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides play a key role in synaptic damage and memory deficits in the early pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Abnormal accumulation of Aβ at nerve terminals leads to synaptic pathology and ultimately to neurodegeneration. β-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the major neuronal β-secretase for Aβ generation. However, the mechanisms regulating BACE1 distribution in axons and β cleavage of APP at synapses remain largely unknown. Here, we reveal that dynein-Snapin-mediated retrograde transport regulates BACE1 trafficking in axons and APP processing at presynaptic terminals. BACE1 is predominantly accumulated within late endosomes at the synapses of AD-related mutant human APP (hAPP) transgenic (Tg) mice and patient brains. Defective retrograde transport by genetic ablation of snapin in mice recapitulates late endocytic retention of BACE1 and increased APP processing at presynaptic sites. Conversely, overexpressing Snapin facilitates BACE1 trafficking and reduces synaptic BACE1 accumulation by enhancing the removal of BACE1 from distal AD axons and presynaptic terminals. Moreover, elevated Snapin expression via stereotactic hippocampal injections of adeno-associated virus particles in mutant hAPP Tg mouse brains decreases synaptic Aβ levels and ameliorates synapse loss, thus rescuing cognitive impairments associated with hAPP mice. Altogether, our study provides new mechanistic insights into the complex regulation of BACE1 trafficking and presynaptic localization through Snapin-mediated dynein-driven retrograde axonal transport, thereby suggesting a potential approach of modulating Aβ levels and attenuating synaptic deficits in AD.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT β-Site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) trafficking and synaptic localization significantly influence its β secretase activity and amyloid-β (Aβ) production. In AD brains, BACE1 is accumulated within dystrophic neurites, which is thought to augment Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity by Aβ overproduction. However, it remains largely unknown whether axonal transport regulates synaptic APP processing. Here, we demonstrate that Snapin-mediated retrograde transport plays a critical role in removing BACE1 from presynaptic terminals toward the soma, thus reducing synaptic Aβ production. Adeno-associated virus-mediated Snapin overexpression in the hippocampus of mutant hAPP mice significantly decreases synaptic Aβ levels, attenuates synapse loss, and thus rescues cognitive deficits. Our study uncovers a new pathway that controls synaptic APP processing by enhancing axonal BACE1 trafficking, thereby advancing our fundamental knowledge critical for ameliorating Aβ-linked synaptic pathology.
Project description:The β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1), an essential protease for the generation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, is a major drug target for Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, there is a concern that inhibiting BACE1 could also affect several physiological functions. Here, we show that BACE1 is modified with bisecting N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), a sugar modification highly expressed in brain, and demonstrate that AD patients have higher levels of bisecting GlcNAc on BACE1. Analysis of knockout mice lacking the biosynthetic enzyme for bisecting GlcNAc, GnT-III (Mgat3), revealed that cleavage of Aβ-precursor protein (APP) by BACE1 is reduced in these mice, resulting in a decrease in Aβ plaques and improved cognitive function. The lack of this modification directs BACE1 to late endosomes/lysosomes where it is less colocalized with APP, leading to accelerated lysosomal degradation. Notably, other BACE1 substrates, CHL1 and contactin-2, are normally cleaved in GnT-III-deficient mice, suggesting that the effect of bisecting GlcNAc on BACE1 is selective to APP. Considering that GnT-III-deficient mice remain healthy, GnT-III may be a novel and promising drug target for AD therapeutics.
Project description:The BACE1 gene encodes the beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 and has been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). BACE1 is the most important ?-secretase responsible for the generation of Alzheimer-associated amyloid ?-proteins (A?) and may play a role in the amyloidogenic process in AD. We hypothesized that BACE1 gene variants might influence BACE1 activity or other markers for APP metabolism in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and thereby contribute to the development of AD. We genotyped a Swedish sample of 269 AD patients for the rs638405 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BACE1 gene and correlated genotype data to a broad range of amyloid-related biomarkers in CSF, including BACE1 activity, levels of A?40, A?42, ?- and ?-cleaved soluble APP (?-sAPP and ?-sAPP), as well as markers for Alzheimer-type axonal degeneration, i.e., total-tau and phospho-tau181. Gene variants of BACE1 were neither associated with amyloid-related biomarkers, nor with markers for axonal degeneration in AD.
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:Beta-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme1 (BACE1) catalyzes the rate-limiting step of amyloid-β protein (Aβ) generation, and is considered as a prime target for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In search of a candidate for AD prevention, our efforts exploring the natural BACE1 inhibitor have led to the finding of nobiletin, tangeretin, and sinensetin-representative compounds of polymethoxyflavones (PMFs). Tangeretin exhibited the strongest BACE1 inhibition (IC50, 4.9 × 10-5 M), followed by nobiletin and sinensetin with IC50 values of 5.9 × 10-5 M and 6.3 × 10-5 M, respectively. In addition, all compounds reacted in a non-competitive manner with the substrate. Docking analysis results for complexes with BACE1 indicated that SER10 and THR232 residues of BACE1 hydrogen bonded with two oxygen atoms of tangeretin, while three additional BACE1 residues (ALA157, VAL336 and THR232) interacted with three oxygen atoms of nobiletin. Furthermore, sinensetin formed four hydrogen bonds through nitrogen atoms of TYR71, LYS75, and TRP76, and an oxygen atom of TYR198. Furthermore, the lowest-energy conformations of the most proposed complexes of sinensetin, nobiletin, and tangeretin with BACE1 were -7.2, -7.0, and -6.8 kcal/mol, respectively. Taken together, our results suggest that these polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) might be considered as promising BACE1 inhibitory agents that could lower Aβ production in AD.
Project description:The beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is known primarily for its initial cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which ultimately leads to the generation of Aβ peptides. Here, we provide evidence that altered BACE1 levels and activity impact the degradation of Aβ40 and Aβ42 into a common Aβ34 intermediate. Using human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, we show that Aβ34 is elevated in individuals with mild cognitive impairment who later progressed to dementia. Furthermore, Aβ34 levels correlate with the overall Aβ clearance rates in amyloid positive individuals. Using CSF samples from the PREVENT-AD cohort (cognitively normal individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease), we further demonstrate that the Aβ34/Aβ42 ratio, representing Aβ degradation and cortical deposition, associates with pre-clinical markers of neurodegeneration. We propose that Aβ34 represents a marker of amyloid clearance and may be helpful for the characterization of Aβ turnover in clinical samples.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The β-secretase, BACE1, cleaves APP to initiate generation of the β-amyloid peptide, Aβ, that comprises amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reducing BACE1 activity is an attractive therapeutic approach to AD, but complete inhibition of BACE1 could have mechanism-based side-effects as BACE1-/- mice show deficits in axon guidance, myelination, memory, and other neurological processes. Since BACE1+/- mice appear normal there is interest in determining whether 50% reduction in BACE1 is potentially effective in preventing or treating AD. APP transgenic mice heterozygous for BACE1 have decreased Aβ but the extent of reduction varies greatly from study to study. Here we assess the effects of 50% BACE1 reduction on the widely used 5XFAD mouse model of AD. RESULTS:50% BACE1 reduction reduces Aβ42, plaques, and BACE1-cleaved APP fragments in female, but not in male, 5XFAD/BACE1+/- mice. 5XFAD/BACE1+/+ females have higher levels of Aβ42 and steady-state transgenic APP than males, likely caused by an estrogen response element in the transgene Thy-1 promoter. We hypothesize that higher transgenic APP level in female 5XFAD mice causes BACE1 to no longer be in excess over APP so that 50% BACE1 reduction has a significant Aβ42 lowering effect. In contrast, the lower APP level in 5XFAD males allows BACE1 to be in excess over APP even at 50% BACE1 reduction, preventing lowering of Aβ42 in 5XFAD/BACE1+/- males. We also developed and validated a dot blot assay with an Aβ42-selective antibody as an accurate and cost-effective alternative to ELISA for measuring cerebral Aβ42 levels. CONCLUSIONS:50% BACE1 reduction lowers Aβ42 in female 5XFAD mice only, potentially because BACE1 is not in excess over APP in 5XFAD females with higher transgene expression, while BACE1 is in excess over APP in 5XFAD males with lower transgene expression. Our results suggest that greater than 50% BACE1 inhibition might be necessary to significantly lower Aβ, given that BACE1 is likely to be in excess over APP in the human brain. Additionally, in experiments using the 5XFAD mouse model, or other Thy-1 promoter transgenic mice, equal numbers of male and female mice should be used, in order to avoid artifactual gender-related differences.
Project description:β-Site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) cleaves amyloid β-protein precursor (APP) at the bond between Met671 and Asp672 (β-site) to generate the carboxyl-terminal fragment (CTFβ/C99). BACE1 also cleaves APP at another bond between Thr681 and Gln682 (β'-site), yielding CTFβ'/C89. Cleavage of CTFβ/C99 by γ-secretase generates Aβ(1-XX), whereas cleavage of CTFβ'/C89 generates Aβ(11-XX). Thus, β'-site cleavage by BACE1 is amyloidolytic rather than amyloidogenic. β' cleavage of mouse APP is more common than the corresponding cleavage of human APP. We found that the H684R substitution within human Aβ, which replaces the histidine in the human protein with the arginine found at the corresponding position in mouse, facilitated β' cleavage irrespective of the species origin of BACE1, thereby significantly increasing the level of Aβ(11-XX) and decreasing the level of Aβ(1-XX). Thus, amino acid substitutions within the Aβ sequence influenced the selectivity of alternative β- or β'-site cleavage of APP by BACE1. In familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD), the APP gene harbors pathogenic variations such as the Swedish (K670N/M671L), Leuven (E682K), and A673V mutations, all of which decrease Aβ(11-40) generation, whereas the protective Icelandic mutation (A673T) increases generation of Aβ(11-40). Thus, A673T promotes β' cleavage of APP and protects subjects against AD. In addition, CTFβ/C99 was cleaved by excess BACE1 activity to generate CTFβ'/C89, followed by Aβ(11-40), even if APP harbored pathogenic mutations. The resultant Aβ(11-40) was more metabolically labile in vivo than Aβ(1-40). Our analysis suggests that some FAD mutations in APP are amyloidogenic and/or amyloidolytic via selection of alternative BACE1 cleavage sites.