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J Neurosci. 1999 Jul 1;19(13):5360-9.

Mutant presenilin-1 induces apoptosis and downregulates Akt/PKB.

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  • 1Committee on Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Most early onset cases of familial Alzheimer's disease (AD) are caused by mutations in presenilin-1 (PS1) and presenilin-2 (PS2). These mutations lead to increased beta-amyloid formation and may induce apoptosis in some model systems. Using primary cultured hippocampal neurons (HNs) and rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells transiently transfected with replication-defective recombinant adenoviral vectors expressing wild-type or mutant PS1, we demonstrate that mutant PS1s induce apoptosis, downregulate the survival factor Akt/PKB, and affect several Akt/PKB downstream targets, including glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and beta-catenin. Expression of a constitutively active Akt/PKB rescues HNs from mutant PS1-induced neuronal cell death, suggesting a potential therapeutic target for AD. Downregulation of Akt/PKB may be a mechanism by which mutant PS1 induces apoptosis and may play a role in the pathogenesis of familial AD.

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