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Front Biosci. 2000 Jan 1;5:D72-83.

Cellular and molecular basis of beta-amyloid precursor protein metabolism.

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Fisher Center for Alzheimer Research and Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University, New York NY 10021, USA.


In molecular neurobiology, perhaps no molecule has been as thoroughly examined as Alzheimer's beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP). In the years since the cDNA encoding beta-APP was cloned, the protein has been the subject of unparalleled scrutiny on all levels. From molecular genetics and cellular biology to neuroanatomy and epidemiology, no scientific discipline has been left unexplored - and with good reason. beta-amyloid (Abeta) is the main constituent of the amyloidogenic plaques which are a primary pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and bta-APP is the protein from which Abeta is cleaved and released. Unraveling the molecular events underlying Abeta generation has been, and remains, of paramount importance to scientists in our field. In this review we will trace the progress that has been made in understanding the molecular and cellular basis of beta-APP trafficking and processing, or alternatively stated, the molecular basis for Abeta generation. Imperative to a complete understanding of Abeta generation is the delineation of its subcellular localization and the identification of proteins that play either direct or accessory roles in Abeta generation. We will focus on the regulation of beta-APP cleavage through diverse signal transduction mechanisms and discuss possible points of therapeutic intercession in what has been postulated to be a seminal molecular step in the cascade of events terminating in the onset of dementia, loss of neurons, and eventual death from Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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