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J Vis Exp. 2012 Aug 28;(66):e4204. doi: 10.3791/4204.

Purification and aggregation of the amyloid precursor protein intracellular domain.

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1
Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, USA.

Abstract

Amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a type I transmembrane protein associated with the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP is characterized by a large extracellular domain and a short cytosolic domain termed the APP intracellular domain (AICD). During maturation through the secretory pathway, APP can be cleaved by proteases termed α, β, and γ-secretases. Sequential proteolytic cleavage of APP with β and γ-secretases leads to the production of a small proteolytic peptide, termed Aβ, which is amyloidogenic and the core constituent of senile plaques. The AICD is also liberated from the membrane after secretase processing, and through interactions with Fe65 and Tip60, can translocate to the nucleus to participate in transcription regulation of multiple target genes. Protein-protein interactions involving the AICD may affect trafficking, processing, and cellular functions of holo-APP and its C-terminal fragments. We have recently shown that AICD can aggregate in vitro, and this process is inhibited by the AD-implicated molecular chaperone ubiquilin-1. Consistent with these findings, the AICD has exposed hydrophobic domains and is intrinsically disordered in vitro, however it obtains stable secondary structure when bound to Fe65. We have proposed that ubiquilin-1 prevents inappropriate inter- and intramolecular interactions of AICD, preventing aggregation in vitro and in intact cells. While most studies focus on the role of APP in the pathogenesis of AD, the role of AICD in this process is not clear. Expression of AICD has been shown to induce apoptosis, to modulate signaling pathways, and to regulate calcium signaling. Over-expression of AICD and Fe65 in a transgenic mouse model induces Alzheimer's like pathology, and recently AICD has been detected in brain lysates by western blotting when using appropriate antigen retrieval techniques. To facilitate structural, biochemical, and biophysical studies of the AICD, we have developed a procedure to produce recombinantly large amounts of highly pure AICD protein. We further describe a method for inducing the in vitro thermal aggregation of AICD and analysis by atomic force microscopy. The methods described are useful for biochemical, biophysical, and structural characterization of the AICD and the effects of molecular chaperones on AICD aggregation.

PMID:
22952038
PMCID:
PMC3478677
DOI:
10.3791/4204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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