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Nat Med. 2008 Jul;14(7):723-30. doi: 10.1038/nm1784. Epub 2008 Jun 29.

Expression of a noncoding RNA is elevated in Alzheimer's disease and drives rapid feed-forward regulation of beta-secretase.

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  • 1Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department, The Scripps Research Institute, 5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter, Florida 33458, USA.


Recent efforts have revealed that numerous protein-coding messenger RNAs have natural antisense transcript partners, most of which seem to be noncoding RNAs. Here we identify a conserved noncoding antisense transcript for beta-secretase-1 (BACE1), a crucial enzyme in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. The BACE1-antisense transcript (BACE1-AS) regulates BACE1 mRNA and subsequently BACE1 protein expression in vitro and in vivo. Upon exposure to various cell stressors including amyloid-beta 1-42 (Abeta 1-42), expression of BACE1-AS becomes elevated, increasing BACE1 mRNA stability and generating additional Abeta 1-42 through a post-transcriptional feed-forward mechanism. BACE1-AS concentrations were elevated in subjects with Alzheimer's disease and in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice. These data show that BACE1 mRNA expression is under the control of a regulatory noncoding RNA that may drive Alzheimer's disease-associated pathophysiology. In summary, we report that a long noncoding RNA is directly implicated in the increased abundance of Abeta 1-42 in Alzheimer's disease.

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