Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurochem. 1998 Jan;70(1):1-14.

Presenilins, the endoplasmic reticulum, and neuronal apoptosis in Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0230, USA.


Many cases of autosomal dominant inherited forms of early-onset Alzheimer's disease are caused by mutations in the genes encoding presenilin-1 (PS-1; chromosome 14) and presenilin-2 (PS-2; chromosome 1). PSs are expressed in neurons throughout the brain wherein they appear to be localized primarily to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cell bodies and dendrites. PS-1 and PS-2 show high homology and are predicted to have eight transmembrane domains with the C terminus, N terminus, and a loop domain all on the cytosolic side of the membrane; an enzymatic cleavage of PSs occurs at a site near the loop domain. The normal function of PSs is unknown, but data suggest roles in membrane trafficking, amyloid precursor protein processing, and regulation of ER calcium homeostasis. Homology of PSs to the C. elegans gene sel-12, which is involved in Notch signaling, and phenotypic similarities of PS-1 and Notch knockout mice suggest a developmental role for PSs in the nervous system. When expressed in cultured cells and transgenic mice, mutant PSs promote increased production of a long form of amyloid beta-peptide (A beta1-42) that may possess enhanced amyloidogenic and neurotoxic properties. PS mutations sensitize cultured neural cells to apoptosis induced by trophic factor withdrawal, metabolic insults, and amyloid beta-peptide. The mechanism responsible for the proapoptotic action of mutant PSs may involve perturbed calcium release from ER stores and increased levels of oxidative stress. Recent studies of apoptosis in many different cell types suggest that ER calcium signaling can modulate apoptosis. The evolving picture of PS roles in neuronal plasticity and Alzheimer's disease is bringing to the forefront the ER, an organelle increasingly recognized as a key regulator of neuronal plasticity and survival.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Blackwell Publishing
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk