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Am J Pathol. 2000 Dec;157(6):1983-90.

The cell cycle Cdc25A tyrosine phosphatase is activated in degenerating postmitotic neurons in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.


The Cdc25 phosphatases play key roles in cell-cycle progression by activating cyclin-dependent kinases. The latter are absent from neurons that are terminally differentiated in adult brain. However, accumulation of mitotic phosphoepitopes, and re-expression and activation of the M phase regulator, Cdc2/cyclin B, have been described in neurons undergoing degeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). To explain this atypical mitotic activation in neurons we investigated the Cdc2-activating Cdc25A phosphatase in human brain. The structural hallmarks of AD neurodegeneration, neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques, were prominently immunolabeled with Cdc25A antibodies. In addition numerous neurons without visible structural alterations were also intensely stained, whereas control brain was very weakly positive. After immunoprecipitation from control and AD tissue, we found that the tyrosine dephosphorylating activity of Cdc25A against exogenous Cdc2 substrate was elevated in AD. Accordingly, Cdc25A from AD tissue displayed increased immunoreactivity with the mitotic phosphoepitope-specific antibody, MPM-2, and co-localized with MPM-2 immunoreactivity in AD neurons. These data suggest that Cdc25A participates in mitotic activation during neurodegeneration. The involvement of Cdc25A in cellular transformation, modulation of the DNA damage checkpoint, and linkage of mitogenic signaling to cell cycle machinery, also implicates one of these cell-cycle pathways in AD pathogenesis.

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