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Biochemistry. 1998 Nov 24;37(47):16465-71.

Presenilin 1 regulates the processing of beta-amyloid precursor protein C-terminal fragments and the generation of amyloid beta-protein in endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi.

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Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Progressive cerebral deposition of the amyloid beta-protein (Abeta) is believed to play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The highly amyloidogenic 42-residue form of Abeta (Abeta42) is the first species to be deposited in both sporadic and familial AD. Mutations in two familial AD-linked genes, presenilins 1 (PS1) and 2 (PS2), selectively increase the production of Abeta42 in cultured cells and the brains of transgenic mice, and gene deletion of PS1 shows that it is required for normal gamma-secretase cleavage of the beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) to generate Abeta. To establish the subcellular localization of the PS1 regulation of APP processing to Abeta, fibroblasts from PS1 wild-type (wt) or knockout (KO) embryos as well as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably transfected with wt or mutant PS1 were subjected to subcellular fractionation on discontinuous Iodixanol gradients. APP C-terminal fragments (CTF) were markedly increased in both endoplasmic reticulum- (ER-) and Golgi-rich fractions of fibroblasts from KO mice; moreover, similar increases were documented directly in KO brain tissue. No change in the subcellular distribution of full-length APP was detectable in fibroblasts lacking PS1. In CHO cells, a small portion of APP, principally the N-glycosylated isoform, formed complexes with PS1 in both ER- and Golgi-rich fractions, as detected by coimmunoprecipitation. When the same fractions were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for Abetatotal and Abeta42, Abeta42 was the major Abeta species in the ER fraction (Abeta42:Abetatotal ratio 0.5-1.0), whereas absolute levels of both Abeta42 and Abeta40 were higher in the Golgi fraction and the Abeta42:Abetatoal ratio was 0.05-0.16 there. Mutant PS1 significantly increased Abeta42 levels in the Golgi fraction. Our results indicate PS1 and APP can interact in the ER and Golgi, where PS1 is required for proper gamma-secretase processing of APP CTFs, and that PS1 mutations augment Abeta42 levels principally in Golgi-like vesicles.

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