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J Neurochem. 2011 Oct;119(2):377-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07419.x. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

FE65 proteins regulate NMDA receptor activation-induced amyloid precursor protein processing.

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Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA.


Amyloid precursor protein (APP) family members and their proteolytic products are implicated in normal nervous system function and Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. APP processing and Aβ secretion are regulated by neuronal activity. Various data suggest that NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activity plays a role in both non-amyloidogenic and amyloidogenic APP processing depending on whether synaptic or extrasynaptic NMDARs are activated, respectively. The APP-interacting FE65 proteins modulate APP trafficking and processing in cell lines, but little is known about their contribution to APP trafficking and processing in neurons, either in vivo or in vitro. In this study, we examined the contribution of the FE65 protein family to APP trafficking and processing in WT and FE65/FE65L1 double knockout neurons under basal conditions and following NMDAR activation. We report that FE65 proteins facilitate neuronal Aβ secretion without affecting APP fast axonal transport to pre-synaptic terminals. In addition, FE65 proteins facilitate an NMDAR-dependent non-amyloidogenic APP processing pathway. Generation of high-molecular weight (HMW) species bearing an APP C-terminal epitope was also observed following NMDAR activation. These HMW species require proteasomal and calpain activities for their accumulation. Recovery of APP polypeptide fragments from electroeluted HMW species having molecular weights consistent with calpain I cleavage of APP suggests that HMW species are complexes formed from APP metabolic products. Our results indicate that the FE65 proteins contribute to physiological APP processing and accumulation of APP metabolic products resulting from NMDAR activation.

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