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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jul 19;91(15):7104-8.

Secreted beta-amyloid precursor protein stimulates mitogen-activated protein kinase and enhances tau phosphorylation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


Biological effects related to cell growth, as well as a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease, have been ascribed to the beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP). Little is known, however, about the intracellular cascades that mediate these effects. We report that the secreted form of beta-APP potently stimulates mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Brief exposure of PC-12 pheochromocytoma cells to beta-APP secreted by transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells stimulated the 43-kDa form of MAPK by > 10-fold. Induction of a dominant inhibitory form of ras in a PC12-derived cell line prevented the stimulation of MAPK by secreted beta-APP, demonstrating the dependence of the effect upon p21ras. Because the microtubule-associated protein tau is hyperphosphorylated in Alzheimer disease, we sought and found a 2-fold enhancement in tau phosphorylation associated with the beta-APP-induced MAPK stimulation. In the ras dominant inhibitory cell line, beta-APP failed to enhance phosphorylation of tau. The data presented here provide a link between secreted beta-APP and the phosphorylation state of tau.

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