A death receptor 6-amyloid precursor protein pathway regulates synapse density in the mature CNS but does not contribute to Alzheimer's disease-related pathophysiology in murine models.
ABSTRACT: Recent studies implicate death receptor 6 (DR6) in an amyloid precursor protein (APP)-dependent pathway regulating developmental axon pruning, and in a pruning pathway operating during plastic rearrangements in adult brain. DR6 has also been suggested to mediate toxicity in vitro of A? peptides derived from APP. Given the link between APP, A?, and Alzheimer's disease (AD), these findings have raised the possibility that DR6 contributes to aspects of neurodegeneration in AD. To test this possibility, we have used mouse models to characterize potential function(s) of DR6 in the adult CNS and in AD-related pathophysiology. We show that DR6 is broadly expressed within the adult CNS and regulates the density of excitatory synaptic connections onto pyramidal neurons in a genetic pathway with APP. DR6 knock-out also gives rise to behavioral abnormalities, some of which are similar to those previously documented in APP knock-out animals. However, in two distinct APP transgenic models of AD, we did not observe any alteration in the formation of amyloid plaques, gliosis, synaptic loss, or cognitive behavioral deficits with genetic deletion of DR6, though we did observe a transient reduction in the degree of microglial activation in one model. Our results support the view that DR6 functions with APP to modulate synaptic density in the adult CNS, but do not provide evidence for a role of DR6 in the pathophysiology of AD.
Project description:Death receptor 6 (DR6) is highly expressed in the human brain: it has been shown to induce axon pruning and neuron death via distinct caspases and to mediate axonal degeneration through binding to N-terminal ? amyloid precursor protein (N-APP).We investigated the expression of DR6 during prenatal and postnatal development in human hippocampus and temporal cortex by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis (118 normal human brain specimens; 9 to 41 gestational weeks; 1 day to 7 months postnatally; 3 to 91 years). To investigate the role of N-APP/DR6/caspase 6 pathway in the development of hippocampal Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated pathology, we examined DR6 immunoreactivity (IR) in the developing hippocampus from patients with Down syndrome (DS; 48 brain specimens; 14 to 41 gestational weeks; 7 days to 8 months postnatally; 15 to 64 years) and in adults with DS and AD.DR6 was highly expressed in human adult hippocampus and temporal cortex: we observed consistent similar temporal and spatial expression in both control and DS brain. Western blot analysis of total homogenates of temporal cortex and hippocampus showed developmental regulation of DR6. In the hippocampus, DR6 IR was first apparent in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare at 16 weeks of gestation, followed by stratum oriens, radiatum, pyramidale (CA1 to CA4) and molecular layer of the dentate gyrus between 21 and 23 gestational weeks, reaching a pattern similar to adult hippocampus around birth. Increased DR6 expression in dystrophic neurites was detected focally in a 15-year-old DS patient. Abnormal DR6 expression pattern, with increased expression within dystrophic neurites in and around amyloid plaques was observed in adult DS patients with widespread AD-associated neurodegeneration and was similar to the pattern observed in AD hippocampus. Double-labeling experiments demonstrated the colocalization, in dystrophic neurites, of DR6 with APP. We also observed colocalization with hyper-phosphorylated Tau and with caspase 6 (increased in hippocampus with AD pathology) in plaque-associated dystrophic neurites and within the white matter.These findings demonstrate a developmental regulation of DR6 in human hippocampus and suggest an abnormal activation of the N-APP/DR6/caspase 6 pathway, which can contribute to initiation or progression of hippocampal AD-associated pathology.
Project description:The amyloid precursor protein (APP) has garnered considerable attention due to its genetic links to Alzheimer's disease. Death receptor 6 (DR6) was recently shown to bind APP via the protein extracellular regions, stimulate axonal pruning, and inhibit synapse formation. Here, we report the crystal structure of the DR6 ectodomain in complex with the E2 domain of APP and show that it supports a model for APP-induced dimerization and activation of cell surface DR6.
Project description:Naturally occurring axonal pruning and neuronal cell death help to sculpt neuronal connections during development, but their mechanistic basis remains poorly understood. Here we report that beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and death receptor 6 (DR6, also known as TNFRSF21) activate a widespread caspase-dependent self-destruction program. DR6 is broadly expressed by developing neurons, and is required for normal cell body death and axonal pruning both in vivo and after trophic-factor deprivation in vitro. Unlike neuronal cell body apoptosis, which requires caspase 3, we show that axonal degeneration requires caspase 6, which is activated in a punctate pattern that parallels the pattern of axonal fragmentation. DR6 is activated locally by an inactive surface ligand(s) that is released in an active form after trophic-factor deprivation, and we identify APP as a DR6 ligand. Trophic-factor deprivation triggers the shedding of surface APP in a beta-secretase (BACE)-dependent manner. Loss- and gain-of-function studies support a model in which a cleaved amino-terminal fragment of APP (N-APP) binds DR6 and triggers degeneration. Genetic support is provided by a common neuromuscular junction phenotype in mutant mice. Our results indicate that APP and DR6 are components of a neuronal self-destruction pathway, and suggest that an extracellular fragment of APP, acting via DR6 and caspase 6, contributes to Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:The amyloid-? (A?) peptide, the primary constituent of amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains, is derived from sequential proteolytic processing of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). However, the contribution of different cell types to A? deposition has not yet been examined in an in vivo, non-overexpression system. Here, we show that endogenous APP is highly expressed in a heterogeneous subset of GABAergic interneurons throughout various laminae of the hippocampus, suggesting that these cells may have a profound contribution to AD plaque pathology. We then characterized the laminar distribution of amyloid burden in the hippocampus of an APP knock-in mouse model of AD. To examine the contribution of GABAergic interneurons to plaque pathology, we blocked A? production specifically in these cells using a cell type-specific knock-out of BACE1. We found that during early stages of plaque deposition, interneurons contribute to approximately 30% of the total plaque load in the hippocampus. The greatest contribution to plaque load (75%) occurs in the stratum pyramidale of CA1, where plaques in human AD cases are most prevalent and where pyramidal cell bodies and synaptic boutons from perisomatic-targeting interneurons are located. These findings reveal a crucial role of GABAergic interneurons in the pathology of AD. Our study also highlights the necessity of using APP knock-in models to correctly evaluate the cellular contribution to amyloid burden since APP overexpressing transgenic models drive expression in cell types according to the promoter and integration site and not according to physiologically relevant expression mechanisms.
2020-01-01 | S-EPMC6950898 | BioStudies
Project description:A prevalent model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis postulates the generation of neurotoxic fragments derived from the amyloid precursor protein (APP) after its internalization to endocytic compartments. The molecular pathways that regulate APP internalization and intracellular trafficking in neurons are incompletely understood. Here we report that 5xFAD mice, an animal model of AD, expressing signaling-deficient variants of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) show greater neuroprotection from AD neuropathology than animals lacking this receptor. p75NTR knock-in mice lacking the death domain or transmembrane Cys259 showed lower levels of A? species, amyloid plaque burden, gliosis, mitochondrial stress and neurite dystrophy than global knock-outs. Strikingly, long-term synaptic plasticity and memory, which are completely disrupted in 5xFAD mice, were fully recovered in the knock-in mice. Mechanistically, we found that p75NTR interacts with APP at the plasma membrane and regulates its internalization and intracellular trafficking in hippocampal neurons. Inactive p75NTR variants internalized considerably slower than wild type p75NTR and showed increased association with the recycling pathway, thereby reducing APP internalization and colocalization with BACE1, the critical protease for generation of of neurotoxic APP fragments, favoring non-amyloidogenic APP cleavage. These results reveal a novel pathway that directly and specifically regulates APP internalization, amyloidogenic processing and disease progression, and suggest that inhibitors targeting the p75NTR transmembrane domain may be an effective therapeutic strategy in AD
Project description:Impaired synaptic plasticity and neuron loss are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Here, we found that chronic brain hypoperfusion (CBH) by bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (2VO) decreased the total length, numbers and crossings of dendrites and caused neuron death in rat hippocampi and cortices. It also led to increase in N-terminal ?-amyloid precursor protein (N-APP) and death receptor-6 (DR6) protein levels and in the activation of caspase-3 and caspase-6. Further study showed that DR6 protein was downregulated by miR-195 overexpression, upregulated by miR-195 inhibition, and unchanged by binding-site mutation and miR-masks. Knockdown of endogenous miR-195 by lentiviral vector-mediated overexpression of its antisense molecule (lenti-pre-AMO-miR-195) decreased the total length, numbers and crossings of dendrites and neuron death, upregulated N-APP and DR6 levels, and elevated cleaved caspase-3 and caspase-6 levels. Overexpression of miR-195 using lenti-pre-miR-195 prevented these changes triggered by 2VO. We conclude that miR-195 is involved in CBH-induced dendritic degeneration and neuron death through activation of the N-APP/DR6/caspase pathway.
Project description:Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) accumulation is a key characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD); therefore, mouse models of AD exhibiting Aβ pathology are valuable tools for unraveling disease mechanisms. However, the overexpression of Aβ precursor protein (APP) used in previous mouse models may cause Aβ-independent artifacts that influence data interpretation. To circumvent these problems, we used an APP knock-in (KI) strategy to introduce mutations to the mouse APP gene to develop a new generation of AD mouse models. These new models, termed APP(NL-F) and APP(NL-G-F), have endogenous APP levels and develop robust Aβ amyloidosis, which induce synaptic degeneration and memory impairments. Thus, we suggest that these novel APP KI mice will serve as important tools to elucidate molecular mechanisms of AD.
Project description:Amyloid ?-protein (A?) toxicity is hypothesized to play a seminal role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. However, it remains unclear how A? causes synaptic dysfunction and synapse loss. We hypothesize that one mechanism of A?-induced synaptic injury is related to the cleavage of amyloid ? precursor protein (APP) at position D664 by caspases that release the putatively cytotoxic C31 peptide. In organotypic slice cultures derived from mice with a knock-in mutation in the APP gene (APP D664A) to inhibit caspase cleavage, A?-induced synaptic injury is markedly reduced in two models of A? toxicity. Loss of dendritic spines is also attenuated in mice treated with caspase inhibitors. Importantly, the time-dependent dendritic spine loss is correlated with localized activation of caspase-3 but is absent in APP D664A cultures. We propose that the APP cytosolic domain plays an essential role in A?-induced synaptic damage in the injury pathway mediated by localized caspase activation.
Project description:The amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a critical role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. APP is proteolytically cleaved by ?- and ?-secretases to generate the amyloid ?-protein (A?), the core protein component of senile plaques in AD. It is also cleaved by ?-secretase to release the large soluble APP (sAPP) luminal domain that has been shown to exhibit trophic properties. Increasing evidence points to the development of synaptic deficits and dendritic spine loss prior to deposition of amyloid in transgenic mouse models that overexpress APP and A? peptides. The consequence of loss of APP, however, is unsettled. In this study, we investigated whether APP itself plays a role in regulating synaptic structure and function using an APP knock-out (APP-/-) mouse model. We examined dendritic spines in primary cultures of hippocampal neurons and CA1 neurons of hippocampus from APP-/- mice. In the cultured neurons, there was a significant decrease (~35%) in spine density in neurons derived from APP-/- mice compared to littermate control neurons that were partially restored with sAPP?-conditioned medium. In APP-/- mice in vivo, spine numbers were also significantly reduced but by a smaller magnitude (~15%). Furthermore, apical dendritic length and dendritic arborization were markedly diminished in hippocampal neurons. These abnormalities in neuronal morphology were accompanied by reduction in long-term potentiation. Strikingly, all these changes in vivo were only seen in mice that were 12-15 months in age but not in younger animals. We propose that APP, specifically sAPP, is necessary for the maintenance of dendritic integrity in the hippocampus in an age-associated manner. Finally, these age-related changes may contribute to AD pathology independent of A?-mediated synaptic toxicity.
Project description:It is well known that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory deficits and cognitive decline. Amyloid-? (A?) deposition and synaptic dysfunction play important roles in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The Huatuo Zaizao pill (HT) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used clinically for many years in China, mainly for post-stroke rehabilitation and cognitive decline; however, the mechanism of cognitive function is not clear. In this study, we investigated the effect of HT on hippocampal synaptic function, Amyloid-? (A?) deposition in APP/PS1 AD transgenic mice.Six-month-old APP/PS1 transgenic (Tg) mice were randomly divided into control, HT-treated, and memantine (MEM)-treated groups. Then, these groups were orally administered vehicle (for the control), HT (0.25 g/kg) and MEM (5 mg/kg) respectively for 4 weeks. The Morris water maze, Novel Object Recognition, and Open field tests were used to assess cognitive behavioral changes. We evaluated the effects of HT on neuronal excitability, membrane ion channel activity, and synaptic plasticity in acute hippocampal slices by combining electrophysiological extracellular tests. Synaptic morphology in the hippocampus was investigated by electron microscopy. Western blotting was used to assess synaptic-associated protein and A? production and degrading levels. Immunofluorescence staining was used to determine the relative integrated density.HT can ameliorate hippocampus-dependent memory deficits and improve synaptic dysfunction by reversing LTP impairment in APP/PS1 transgenic mice. Moreover, HT reduces amyloid plaque deposition by regulating ?-secretase and ?-secretase levels.HT can improve the learning and memory function of APP/PS1 transgenic mice by improving synaptic function and reducing amyloid plaque deposition.