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Alzheimers Res Ther. 2012 Apr 13;4(2):10. doi: 10.1186/alzrt108.

Relationships between the amyloid precursor protein and its various proteolytic fragments and neuronal systems.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Forvie site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0SR, UK.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and in its familial form is associated with mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and the presenilins (PSs). Much data regarding the interactions of APP, its proteolytic fragments and PS have been generated, expanding our understanding of the roles of these proteins in mechanisms underlying cognitive function and revealing many complex relationships with wide ranging cellular systems. In this review, we examine the multiple interactions of APP and its proteolytic fragments with other neuronal systems in terms of feedback loops and use these relationships to build a map. We highlight the complexity involved in the APP proteolytic system and discuss alternative perspectives on the roles of APP and its proteolytic fragments in dynamic processes associated with disease progression in AD. We highlight areas where data are missing and suggest potential confounding factors. We suggest that a systems biology approach enhances representations of the data and may be more useful in modelling both normal cognition and disease processes.

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