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J Neurosci. 2016 Sep 21;36(38):9933-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1907-16.2016.

Calpain Activation in Alzheimer's Model Mice Is an Artifact of APP and Presenilin Overexpression.

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Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako 351-0198, Japan.
Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako 351-0198, Japan


Intraneuronal calcium stimulates the calpain-dependent conversion of p35 to p25, a CDK5 activator. It is widely believed that amyloid β peptide (Aβ) induces this conversion that, in turn, has an essential role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. However, in vivo studies on p25 generation used transgenic mice overexpressing mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin (PS). Here, using single App knock-in mice, we show that p25 generation is an artifact caused by membrane protein overexpression. We show that massive Aβ42 accumulation without overexpression of APP or presenilin does not produce p25, whereas p25 generation occurred with APP/PS overexpression and in postmortem mouse brain. We further support this finding using mice deficient for calpastatin, the sole calpain-specific inhibitor protein. Thus, the intracerebral environment of the APP/PS mouse brain and postmortem brain is an unphysiological state.


We recently estimated using single App knock-in mice that accumulate amyloid β peptide without transgene overexpression that 60% of the phenotypes observed in Alzheimer's model mice overexpressing mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) or APP and presenilin are artifacts (Saito et al., 2014). The current study further supports this estimate by invalidating key results from papers that were published in Cell These findings suggest that more than 3000 publications based on APP and APP/PS overexpression must be reevaluated.


Nav1.1; amyloid; calpain; p25

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