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Molecular studies of the γ-secretase complex activity and selectivity towards the two substrates APP and Notch
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. (Team Helena Karlström (THK) vid KI-Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, NVS, Karolinska Institutet)
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Alzheimer Disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world. One of the neuropathological hallmarks of AD is the senile plaques in the brain. The plaques are mainly composed of the amyloid β (Aβ) peptide. Aβ is generated from the amyloid precursor protein, APP, when it is first cleaved by the β-secretase and subsequently the γ-secretase complex. The γ-secretase complex cleaves at different sites, called γ and ε, where the γ-cleavage site generates Aβ peptides of different lengths and ε-cleavage generates the APP intracellular domain (AICD). The two major forms of Aβ is 40 and 42 amino acids long peptides, where the latter is more prone to aggregate and is the main component in senile plaques. The γ-secretase complex is composed of four proteins; Pen-2, Aph-1, nicastrin and presenilin (PS). The PS protein harbours the catalytic site of the complex, where two aspartate residues in position 257 and 385 (Presenilin 1 numbering) are situated. Most Familial AD (FAD) mutations in the PS gene cause a change in the γ-cleavage site, leading to a shift from producing Aβ40 to the longer more toxic variant Aβ42. Frequently, this often leads to impairments of the AICD production. Another substrate for the γ-secretase complex is Notch. It is important to maintain the Notch signaling since an intracellular domain (NICD) is formed after cleavage by the γ-secretase complex in the membrane (S3-site) and this domain is involved in transcription of genes important for cell fate decisions.

It has been reported that certain APP luminal juxtamembrane mutations could drastically alter Aβ secretion, however their effect on AICD production remains unknown. In this study we want to analyse wether the juxtamembrane region is important for the AICD production. To gain more insight into the luminal juxtamembrane function for γ-secretase-dependent proteolysis, we have made a juxtamembrane chimeric construct. A four-residue sequence preceding the transmembrane domain (TMD) of APP (GSNK), was replaced by its topological counterpart from the human Notch1 receptor (PPAQ). The resulting chimeric vector C99GVP-PPAQ and the wildtype counterpart were expressed in cells lacking PS1 and PS2 (BD8) together with PS1wt. We observed that the chimeric construct did not alter production of AICD when using a cell based luciferase reporter gene assay monitoring AICD production. We also introduced a PS1 variant lacking a big portion of the large hydrophilic loop, PS1∆exon10, since our group has previously observed that this region affect Aβ production143. We found that the absence of the large hydrophilic loop in PS1 gave a 2-fold decrease in AICD-GVP formation from C99GVPwt compared to PS1wt.  The activity of PS1wt and PS1Δexon10 using C99GVP-PPAQ as a substrate gave similar result as the C99GVPwt substrate, i.e. a 2-fold decrease in AICD-GVP formation when comparing PS1Δexon10 with PS1wt. From this data we therefore suggest that the four residues in the juxtramembrane domain (JMD) (GSNK) is not altering ε-cleavage of APP when changed to Notch1 counterpart, PPAQ. Furthermore, we also show that the 2-fold decrease in AICD-production by the PS1Δexon10 molecule is not changed between the two substrates C99GVPwt and C99GVP-PPAQ. This indicates that the luminal region of APP is not directly involved in the ε-site processing. If the luminal region is affecting processing in the γ-cleavage sites, remains however to be investigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , p. 33
Keywords [en]
Alzheimer’s disease, APP, γ-secretase, gamma-secretase, β-amyloid peptide, APP intracellular domain, Notch, Ilyas Bakir
National Category
Medical Biotechnology (with a focus on Cell Biology (including Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9622OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-9622DiVA, id: diva2:320340
Presentation
2010-03-29, KI-Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, NVS, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institutet, KI-Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Novum level 5, 141 86 Stockholm, Stockholm, 11:00 (English)
Uppsok
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
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Examiners
Available from: 2010-06-01 Created: 2010-05-24 Last updated: 2010-06-01Bibliographically approved

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