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Transl Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 22;3:e219. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.147.

1-42 β-amyloid peptide requires PDK1/nPKC/Rac 1 pathway to induce neuronal death.

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Biodonostia Institute, Hospital Donostia, P Doctor Begiristain, Donostia, Spain.


1-42 β-Amyloid (Aβ(1-42)) peptide is a key molecule involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Some of its effects are manifested at the neuronal morphological level. These morphological changes involve loss of neurites due to cytoskeleton alterations. However, the mechanism of Aβ(1-42) peptide activation of the neurodegenerative program is still poorly understood. Here, Aβ(1-42) peptide-induced transduction of cellular death signals through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/phosphoinositol-dependent kinase (PDK)/novel protein kinase C (nPKC)/Rac 1 axis is described. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of PDK1 and nPKC activities blocks Rac 1 activation and neuronal cell death. Our results provide insights into an unsuspected connection between PDK1, nPKCs and Rac 1 in the same signal-transduction pathway and points out nPKCs and Rac 1 as potential therapeutic targets to block the toxic effects of Aβ(1-42) peptide in neurons.

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