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Neurodegener Dis. 2006;3(4-5):262-9.

Ectodomain shedding of the amyloid precursor protein: cellular control mechanisms and novel modifiers.

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Adolf Butenandt Institute, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


Proteolytic cleavage in the ectodomain of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a key regulatory step in the generation of the Alzheimer's disease amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide and occurs through two different protease activities termed alpha- and beta-secretase. Both proteases compete for APP cleavage, but have opposite effects on Abeta generation. At present, little is known about the cellular pathways that control APP alpha- or beta-secretase cleavage and thus Abeta generation. To explore the contributory pathways in more detail we have recently employed an expression cloning screen and identified several activators of APP cleavage by alpha- or beta-secretase. Among them were known activators of APP cleavage, for example protein kinase A, and novel activators, such as endophilin and the APP homolog amyloid precursor-like protein 1 (APLP1). Mechanistic analysis revealed that both endophilin and APLP1 reduce the rate of APP endocytosis and strongly increase APP cleavage by alpha-secretase. This review summarizes the results of the expression cloning screen in the context of recent developments in our understanding of the cellular regulation of APP alpha-secretase cleavage. Moreover, it highlights the particular importance of endocytic APP trafficking as a prime modulator of APP shedding.

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