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Nature. 1992 Jun 11;357(6378):500-3.

Targeting of cell-surface beta-amyloid precursor protein to lysosomes: alternative processing into amyloid-bearing fragments.

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Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Progressive cerebral deposition of the amyloid beta-peptide is an early and invariant feature of Alzheimer's disease. The beta-peptide is released by proteolytic cleavages from the beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta APP), a membrane-spanning glycoprotein expressed in most mammalian cells. Normal secretion of beta APP involves a cleavage in the beta-peptide region, releasing the soluble extramembranous portion and retaining a 10K C-terminal fragment in the membrane. Because this secretory pathway precludes beta-amyloid formation, we searched for an alternative proteolytic processing pathway that can generate beta-peptide-bearing fragments from full-length beta APP. Incubation of living human endothelial cells with a beta APP antibody revealed reinternalization of mature beta APP from the cell surface and its targeting to endosomes/lysosomes. After cell-surface biotinylation, full-length biotinylated beta APP was recovered inside the cells. Purification of lysosomes directly demonstrated the presence of mature beta APP and an extensive array of beta-peptide-containing proteolytic products. Our results define a second processing pathway for beta APP and suggest that it may be responsible for generating amyloid-bearing fragments in Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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