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Mutant presenilins of Alzheimer's disease increase production of 42-residue amyloid beta-protein in both transfected cells and transgenic mice.

Authors:
Citron M, Westaway D, Xia W, Carlson G, Diehl T, Levesque G, Johnson-Wood K, Lee M, Seubert P, Davis A, Kholodenko D, Motter R, Sherrington R, Perry B, Yao H, Strome R, Lieberburg I, Rommens J, Kim S, Schenk D, Fraser P, St George Hyslop P, Selkoe DJ
Affiliation:
Journal:
Nature medicine

Abstract

The mechanism by which mutations in the presenilin (PS) genes cause the most aggressive form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unknown, but fibroblasts from mutation carriers secrete increased levels of the amyloidogenic A beta 42 peptide, the main component of AD plaques. We established transfected cell and transgenic mouse models that coexpress human PS and amyloid beta-protein precursor (APP) genes and analyzed quantitatively the effects of PS expression on APP processing. In both models, expression of wild-type PS genes did not alter APP levels, alpha- and beta-secretase activity and A beta production. In the transfected cells, PS1 and PS2 mutations caused a highly significant increase in A beta 42 secretion in all mutant clones. Likewise, mutant but not wildtype PS1 transgenic mice showed significant overproduction of A beta 42 in the brain, and this effect was detectable as early as 2-4 months of age. Different PS mutations had differential effects on A beta generation. The extent of A beta 42 increase did not correlate with presenilin expression levels. Our data demonstrate that the presenilin mutations cause a dominant gain of function and may induce AD by enhancing A beta 42 production, thus promoting cerebral beta-amyloidosis.

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