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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jul 23;93(15):8046-50.

Cholinergic agonists stimulate secretion of soluble full-length amyloid precursor protein in neuroendocrine cells.

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Department of Psychiatry and Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY 10029, USA.


The Abeta peptide of Alzheimer disease is derived from the proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor proteins (APP), which are considered type I transmembrane glycoproteins. Recently, however, soluble forms of full-length APP were also detected in several systems including chromaffin granules. In this report we used antisera specific for the cytoplasmic sequence of APP to show that primary bovine chromaffin cells secrete a soluble APP, termed solAPPcyt, of an apparent molecular mass of 130 kDa. This APP was oversecreted from Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with a full-length APP cDNA indicating that solAPPcyt contained both the transmembrane and Abeta sequence. Deglycosylation of solAPPcyt showed that it contained both N- and O-linked sugars, suggesting that this APP was transported through the endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi pathway. Secretion of solAPPcyt from primary chromatin cells was temperature-, time-, and energy-dependent and was stimulated by cell depolarization in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Cholinergic receptor agonists, including acetylcholine, nicotine, or carbachol, stimulated the rapid secretion of solAPPcyt, a process that was inhibited by cholinergic antagonists. Stimulation of solAPPcyt secretion was paralleled by a stimulation of secretion in catecholamines and chromogranin A, indicating that secretion of solAPPcyt was mediated by chromaffin granule vesicles. Taken together, our results show that release of the potentially amyloidogenic solAPPcyt is an active cellular process mediated by both the constitutive and regulated pathways. solAPPcyt was also detected in human cerebrospinal fluid. Combined with the neuronal physiology of chromaffin cells, our data suggest that cholinergic agonists may stimulate the release of this APP in neuronal synapses where it may exert its biological functions. Moreover, vesicular or secreted solAPPcyt may serve as a soluble precursor of Abeta.

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