Publications by authors named "Lars O Tjernberg"

56 Publications

Huntingtin Levels are Elevated in Hippocampal Post-Mortem Samples of Alzheimer's Disease Brain.

Curr Alzheimer Res 2020 ;17(9):858-867

Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Background: We have recently identified Huntingtin (Htt), the pathogenic protein in Huntington's disease, as a mediator of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology in an amyloid precursor protein (APP) knock-in mouse model of AD. That finding prompted us to examine if Htt is accumulated in the brains of AD patients and in which cell type Htt is present in the AD brain.

Objective: To investigate whether location and levels of Htt are affected in hippocampus and frontal cortex in AD.

Methods: Brains from AD patients (n=11) and controls (n=11) were stained for Htt using immunohistochemistry and signal intensity of Htt was quantified and localized in subregions and neurons. Confocal microscopy was used to characterize neuronal Htt localisation and its relationship with tau tangles and astrocytes.

Results: Htt levels were increased in neuronal cells in the granular layer of the dentate gyrus, in CA1 and CA3 in hippocampus and in layer III of the frontal cortex. Htt was found in the soma, perinuclear space, thin neurites and nucleus of pyramidal neurons. Htt was present in neurons containing tau tangles but did not colocalize with astrocytes.

Conclusion: Htt accumulates in pyramidal neuron-rich areas including hippocampal subregions associated with memory and frontal cortex layer III. The accumulation of Htt in AD shows distinct cellular and morphological patterns and is not present in astrocytes. Clearly, further research is warranted to elucidate the role of Htt as a mediator of AD pathology and the potential use of Htt as a target in future therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1567205017666201203125622DOI Listing
January 2020

The N-glycan profile in cortex and hippocampus is altered in Alzheimer disease.

J Neurochem 2020 Sep 28. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Protein glycosylation is crucial for the central nervous system and brain functions, including processes that are defective in Alzheimer disease (AD) such as neurogenesis, synaptic function, and memory formation. Still, the roles of glycans in the development of AD are relatively unexplored. Glycomics studies of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have previously shown altered glycosylation pattern in patients with different stages of cognitive impairment, including AD, compared to healthy controls. As a consequence, we hypothesized that the glycan profile is altered in the brain of patients with AD and analyzed the asparagine-linked (N-linked) glycan profile in hippocampus and cortex in AD and control brain. Glycans were enzymatically liberated from brain glycoproteins and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Eleven glycans showed significantly different levels in hippocampus compared to cortex in both control and AD brain. Two glycans in cortex and four in hippocampus showed different levels in AD compared to control brain. All glycans that differed between controls and AD brain had similar structures with one sialic acid, at least one fucose and a confirmed or potential bisecting N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). The glycans that were altered in AD brain differed from those that were altered in AD CSF. One glycan found to be present in significantly lower levels in both hippocampus and cortex in AD compared to control contained a structurally and functionally interesting epitope that we assign as a terminal galactose decorated with fucose and sialic acid. Altogether, these studies suggest that protein glycosylation is an important component in the development of AD and warrants further studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15202DOI Listing
September 2020

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes molecular polarization and differentiation of immature neuroblastoma cells into definitive neurons.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res 2020 09 8;1867(9):118737. Epub 2020 May 8.

Department of Experimental Neurobiology, National Institute of Mental Health, Klecany, Czech Republic; Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, 3rd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Throughout development, neuronal progenitors undergo complex transformation into polarized nerve cells, warranting the directional flow of information in the neural grid. The majority of neuronal polarization studies have been carried out on rodent-derived precursor cells, programmed to develop into neurons. Unlike rodent neuronal cells, SH-SY5Y cells derived from human bone marrow present a sub-clone of neuroblastoma line, with their transformation into neuron-like cells showing a range of highly instructive neurobiological characteristics. We applied two-step retinoic acid (RA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protocol to monitor the conversion of undifferentiated SH-SY5Y into neuron-like cells with distinctly polarized axon-dendritic morphology and formation of bona fide synaptic connections. We show that BDNF is a key driver and regulator of the expression of axonal marker tau and dendritic microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP2), with their sorting to distinct cellular compartments. Using selective kinase inhibitors downregulating BDNF-TrkB signaling, we demonstrate that constitutive activation of TrkB receptor is essential for the maintenance of established polarization morphology. Importantly, the proximity ligation assay applied in our preparation demonstrates that differentiating neuron-like cells develop elaborate synaptic connections enriched with hallmark pre- and postsynaptic proteins. Described herein findings highlight several fundamental processes related to neuronal polarization and synaptogenesis in human-derived cells, which are of major relevance to neurobiology and translational neuroscience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118737DOI Listing
September 2020

Proteomics Time-Course Study of App Knock-In Mice Reveals Novel Presymptomatic Aβ42-Induced Pathways to Alzheimer's Disease Pathology.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;75(1):321-335

Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Background: The 42 amino acids long amyloid-β peptide, Aβ42, may initiate a cascade of events leading to the severe neurodegeneration observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be established.

Objective: To find early Aβ42-induced AD related mechanisms, we performed a brain proteomics time-course study on a novel App knock-in AD mouse model, AppNL-F, expressing high levels of Aβ42 without AβPP overexpression artifacts.

Methods: Hippocampus and cortex were analyzed separately by using 18O-labelling mass spectrometry to reveal alterations in protein levels. Pathway analysis of proteomics data was used to identify altered biological functions. Immunohistochemistry was used to further investigate a significant key regulatory protein.

Results: Around 100 proteins were differently expressed in AppNL-F mice at each time point (3, 6, 9, and 18 months of age) as compared to wild type mice. Strikingly, already at 3 months of age-long before Aβ plaque development and memory impairment-several pathways, including long-term potentiation and synaptic plasticity, were downregulated, and neuritogenesis was increased. Huntingtin (HTT) was identified as an upstream regulator, i.e., a key protein affecting the levels of several proteins. Increased levels of HTT in hippocampus of AppNL-F mice was supported by immunofluorescence microscopy.

Conclusion: Notably, the proteome was significantly altered already at 3 months of age, 6 months before the development of plaques. Differentially expressed proteins varied over time, indicating that increased Aβ42 levels initiate a cascade of events that eventually manifests in amyloid depositions, inflammation, and decline in memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200028DOI Listing
January 2020

Proximity ligation assay reveals both pre- and postsynaptic localization of the APP-processing enzymes ADAM10 and BACE1 in rat and human adult brain.

BMC Neurosci 2020 02 4;21(1). Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Karolinska Institutet, BioClinicum J9:20, Visionsgatan 4, 171 64, Solna, Sweden.

Background: Synaptic degeneration and accumulation of amyloid β-peptides (Aβ) are hallmarks of the Alzheimer diseased brain. Aβ is synaptotoxic and produced by sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by the β-secretase BACE1 and by γ-secretase. If APP is instead cleaved by the α-secretase ADAM10, Aβ will not be generated. Although BACE1 is considered to be a presynaptic protein and ADAM10 has been reported to mainly localize to the postsynaptic density, we have previously shown that both ADAM10 and BACE1 are highly enriched in synaptic vesicles of rat brain and mouse primary hippocampal neurons.

Results: Here, using brightfield proximity ligation assay, we expanded our previous result in primary neurons and investigated the in situ synaptic localization of ADAM10 and BACE1 in rat and human adult brain using both pre- and postsynaptic markers. We found that ADAM10 and BACE1 were in close proximity with both the presynaptic marker synaptophysin and the postsynaptic marker PSD-95. The substrate APP was also detected both pre- and postsynaptically. Subcellular fractionation confirmed that ADAM10 and BACE1 are enriched to a similar degree in synaptic vesicles and as well as in the postsynaptic density.

Conclusions: We show that the α-secretase ADAM10 and the β-secretase BACE1 are located in both the pre- and postsynaptic compartments in intact brain sections. These findings increase our understanding of the regulation of APP processing, thereby facilitating development of more specific treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12868-020-0554-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001251PMC
February 2020

Glycan biomarkers for Alzheimer disease correlate with T-tau and P-tau in cerebrospinal fluid in subjective cognitive impairment.

FEBS J 2020 Aug 14;287(15):3221-3234. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Alzheimer disease (AD) is a devastating disease and a global health problem, and current treatments are only symptomatic. A wealth of clinical studies support that the disease starts to develop decades before the first symptoms appear, emphasizing the importance of studying early changes for improving early diagnosis and guiding toward novel treatment strategies. Protein glycosylation is altered in AD but it remains to be clarified why these alterations occur and how they affect the disease development. Here, we used a glycomics approach to search for alterations in protein glycosylation in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in AD compared with nondemented controls. Using both matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight and liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry, we observed an increase in N-glycans carrying bisecting N-acetylglucosamine in AD. Based on those findings, we designed an enzyme-linked multiwell plate assay to quantify N-glycans binding to the lectin Phaseolus vulgaris Erythroagglutinin (PHA-E), which is specific for N-glycans containing bisecting N-acetylglucosamine. Using this assay, we found a similar increase in CSF in AD compared with controls. Further analysis of CSF from 242 patients with subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or AD dementia revealed significantly increased binding to PHA-E in MCI and AD compared to SCI. Interestingly, PHA-E binding correlated with CSF levels of phosphorylated tau and total tau and this correlation was most prominent in the SCI group (R = 0.53-0.54). This study supports a link between N-glycosylation, neurodegeneration, and tau pathology in AD and suggests that glycan biomarkers have potential to identify SCI cases at risk of developing AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496940PMC
August 2020

The Proteome of the Dentate Terminal Zone of the Perforant Path Indicates Presynaptic Impairment in Alzheimer Disease.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2020 01 7;19(1):128-141. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Synaptic dysfunction is an early pathogenic event in Alzheimer disease (AD) that contributes to network disturbances and cognitive decline. Some synapses are more vulnerable than others, including the synapses of the perforant path, which provides the main excitatory input to the hippocampus. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the dysfunction of these synapses, we performed an explorative proteomic study of the dentate terminal zone of the perforant path. The outer two-thirds of the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus, where the perforant path synapses are located, was microdissected from five subjects with AD and five controls. The microdissected tissues were dissolved and digested by trypsin. Peptides from each sample were labeled with different isobaric tags, pooled together and pre-fractionated into 72 fractions by high-resolution isoelectric focusing. Each fraction was then analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We quantified the relative expression levels of 7322 proteins, whereof 724 showed significantly altered levels in AD. Our comprehensive data analysis using enrichment and pathway analyses strongly indicated that presynaptic signaling, such as exocytosis and synaptic vesicle cycle processes, is severely disturbed in this area in AD, whereas postsynaptic proteins remained unchanged. Among the significantly altered proteins, we selected three of the most downregulated synaptic proteins; complexin-1, complexin-2 and synaptogyrin-1, for further validation, using a new cohort consisting of six AD and eight control cases. Semi-quantitative analysis of immunohistochemical staining confirmed decreased levels of complexin-1, complexin-2 and synaptogyrin-1 in the outer two-thirds of the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in AD. Our in-depth proteomic analysis provides extensive knowledge on the potential molecular mechanism underlying synaptic dysfunction related to AD and supports that presynaptic alterations are more important than postsynaptic changes in early stages of the disease. The specific synaptic proteins identified could potentially be targeted to halt synaptic dysfunction in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.RA119.001737DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6944231PMC
January 2020

Non-specific Detection of a Major Western Blotting Band in Human Brain Homogenates by a Multitude of Amyloid Precursor Protein Antibodies.

Front Aging Neurosci 2019 9;11:273. Epub 2019 Oct 9.

Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

The use of human post-mortem brain material is of great value when investigating which pathological mechanisms occur in human brain, and to avoid translational problems which have for example been evident when translating animal research into Alzheimer disease (AD) clinical trials. The amyloid β (Aβ)-peptide, its amyloid precursor protein (APP) and the intermediate APP-c-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs) are all important players in AD pathogenesis. In order to elucidate which APP CTF that are the most common in brain tissue of different species and developmental stages, and whether there are any differences in these fragments between AD and control brain, we investigated the occurrence of these fragments using different APP c-terminal antibodies. We noticed that whereas the conventional APP-CTFα and CTFβ fragments were most prominent in rat and mouse brain tissue, the major western blotting band detected in human, macaque and guinea pig was of approximately 20 kDa in size, possibly corresponding to the newly discovered APP-CTFη. However, this band was also intensely stained with a total protein stain, as well as by several other antibodies. The staining intensity of the 20 kDa band by the APP antibodies varied considerably between samples and correlated with the staining intensity of this band by the total protein stain. This could potentially be due to non-specific binding of the antibodies to another protein of this size. In-gel digestion and mass spectrometry confirmed that small amounts of APP were present in this band, but many other proteins were identified as well. The major hit of the mass spectrometry analysis was myelin basic protein (MBP) and a myelin removal protocol removed proportionally more of the 20 kDa APP band than the full-length APP and APP-CTFα/β bands. However, the signal could not be immunodepleted with an MBP antibody. In summary, we report on a potentially non-specific western blotting band of approximately 20 kDa and call for precaution when analyzing proteins of this size in human brain tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00273DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6794468PMC
October 2019

Dual Bioorthogonal Labeling of the Amyloid-β Protein Precursor Facilitates Simultaneous Visualization of the Protein and Its Cleavage Products.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;72(2):537-548

Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

The amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) is critical in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD), since two-step proteolytic processing of AβPP generates the neurotoxic amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). We developed a dual fluorescence labeling system to study the exact subcellular location of γ-secretase cleavage of AβPP. The C-terminal tail of AβPP was fluorescently labeled using a SNAP-tag, while the Aβ region of AβPP was fluorescently tagged with a dye at a genetically-encoded noncanonical amino acid (ncAA). The ncAA was introduced at specific positions in AβPP using a genetic code expansion strategy and afterwards, the reactive side-chain of the ncAA was coupled to the dye using a bioorthogonal labeling chemistry. In proof-of-concept experiments, HEK293T cells were transfected with plasmids containing engineered AβPP harboring an amber mutation and an amber codon suppression system with an evolved tRNA synthetase/tRNA pair and grown in the presence of a lysine-derived ncAA. Processing of the AβPP variants was validated with ELISA and immunoblotting, and seven AβPP mutants that showed similar cleavage pattern as wild-type AβPP were identified. The AβPP mutant was fluorescently labeled with 6-methyl-tetrazine-BDP-FL and TMR-Star at the ncAA and SNAP-tag, respectively. Using this approach, AβPP was fluorescently labeled at two sites in living cells with minimal background to allow monitoring of Aβ and C-terminal cleavage products simultaneously. The method described provides a powerful tool to label Aβ with minimal perturbations of its processing, thus enabling studies of the trafficking of the cleavage products of AβPP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918917PMC
November 2020

A Fragment of S38AA is a Novel Plasma Biomarker of Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;71(4):1163-1174

Department of Neurobiology, Division for Neurogeriatrics, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet, BioClinicum J9:20, Solna, Sweden.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease without a cure. The pathological process starts decades before clinical onset, and thus clinical trials of drugs aimed at treating AD should start at a presymptomatic stage. Therefore, it is critical to diagnose AD at an early stage. Tau, phosphorylated tau, and amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of Aβ or tau accumulation are supportive biomarkers for AD diagnosis, but there is no reliable presymptomatic diagnostic marker. Since CSF sampling is invasive, and PET imaging is expensive and available only at specialized centers, a reliable blood biomarker has long been sought for. Here we describe a novel extramembrane fragment from solute carrier family 38 member 10 (SLC38A10, S38AA) that we found to be decreased in pyramidal neurons in AD cases by proteomics and immunohistochemical analysis. We detected a S38AA fragment in CSF and found the levels to correlate with severity of AD and APOE genotype. Importantly, the plasma levels of the fragment also showed a significant correlation with Mini-Mental State Examination scores in AD. Moreover, plasma from other neurodegenerative disease was analyzed and the fragment was found to be increased specifically in AD. Interestingly, the fragment is detected in mouse, rat, and monkey, and increases in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice as the AD-like pathology progresses. We propose that the S38AA fragment in plasma could be a novel quantitative diagnostic marker for AD and potentially a marker of disease progression in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190700DOI Listing
November 2020

APP depletion alters selective pre- and post-synaptic proteins.

Mol Cell Neurosci 2019 03 11;95:86-95. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Experimental Dementia Research Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

The normal role of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-linked amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the brain remains incompletely understood. Previous studies have reported that lack of APP has detrimental effects on spines and electrophysiological parameters. APP has been described to be important in synaptic pruning during development. The effect of APP knockout on mature synapses is complicated by this role in development. We previously reported on differential changes in synaptic proteins and receptors in APP mutant AD transgenic compared to wild-type neurons, which revealed selective decreases in levels of pre- and post-synaptic proteins, including of surface glutamate receptors. In the present study, we undertook a similar analysis of synaptic composition but now in APP knockout compared to wild-type mouse neurons. Here we demonstrate alterations in levels of selective pre- and post-synaptic proteins and receptors in APP knockout compared to wild-type mouse primary neurons in culture and brains of mice in youth and adulthood. Remarkably, we demonstrate selective increases in levels of synaptic proteins, such as GluA1, in neurons with APP knockout and with RNAi knockdown, which tended to be opposite to the reductions seen in AD transgenic APP mutant compared to wild-type neurons. These data reinforce that APP is important for the normal composition of synapses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcn.2019.02.003DOI Listing
March 2019

Conformation-specific antibodies against multiple amyloid protofibril species from a single amyloid immunogen.

J Cell Mol Med 2019 03 20;23(3):2103-2114. Epub 2019 Jan 20.

Laboratory of Chemical Biology & Signal Transduction, The Rockefeller University, New York City, New York.

We engineered and employed a chaperone-like amyloid-binding protein Nucleobindin 1 (NUCB1) to stabilize human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) protofibrils for use as immunogen in mice. We obtained multiple monoclonal antibody (mAb) clones that were reactive against hIAPP protofibrils. A secondary screen was carried out to identify clones that cross-reacted with amyloid beta-peptide (Aβ42) protofibrils, but not with Aβ40 monomers. These mAbs were further characterized in several in vitro assays, in immunohistological studies of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in AD patient brain tissue. We show that mAbs obtained by immunizing mice with the NUCB1-hIAPP complex cross-react with Aβ42, specifically targeting protofibrils and inhibiting their further aggregation. In line with conformation-specific binding, the mAbs appear to react with an intracellular antigen in diseased tissue, but not with amyloid plaques. We hypothesize that the mAbs we describe here recognize a secondary or quaternary structural epitope that is common to multiple amyloid protofibrils. In summary, we report a method to create mAbs that are conformation-sensitive and sequence-independent and can target more than one type of protofibril species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.14119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378190PMC
March 2019

Neuronal Aβ42 is enriched in small vesicles at the presynaptic side of synapses.

Life Sci Alliance 2018 Jun 14;1(3):e201800028. Epub 2018 Jun 14.

Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.

The amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) is a physiological ubiquitously expressed peptide suggested to be involved in synaptic function, long-term potentiation, and memory function. The 42 amino acid-long variant (Aβ42) forms neurotoxic oligomers and amyloid plaques and plays a key role in the loss of synapses and other pathogenic events of Alzheimer disease. Still, the exact localization of Aβ42 in neurons and at synapses has not been reported. Here, we used super-resolution microscopy and show that Aβ42 was present in small vesicles in presynaptic compartments, but not in postsynaptic compartments, in the neurites of hippocampal neurons. Some of these vesicles appeared to lack synaptophysin, indicating that they differ from the synaptic vesicles responsible for neurotransmitter release. The Aβ42-containing vesicles existed in presynapses connected to stubby spines and mushroom spines, and were also present in immature presynapses. These vesicles were scarce in other parts of the neurites, where Aβ42 was instead present in large, around 200-600 nm, vesicular structures. Three-dimensional super-resolution microscopy confirmed that Aβ42 was present in the presynapse and absent in the postsynapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.26508/lsa.201800028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6238618PMC
June 2018

Cerebrospinal fluid from Alzheimer patients affects cell-mediated nerve growth factor production and cell survival in vitro.

Exp Cell Res 2018 10 6;371(1):175-184. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by early degeneration of cholinergic neurons and decreased levels of nerve growth factor (NGF). Thus, increasing the NGF levels by for instance encapsulated cell bio-delivery (ECB) is a potential treatment strategy. The results from our previous first-in-human studies on ECB of NGF to the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons were promising, but indicated some variability of long-term viability of the encapsulated cells and associated reduced NGF-release. Here we studied the effect of amyloid beta-peptides (Aβ), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), and CSF from AD, Lewy body dementia (LBD) or subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) patients on the NGF overproducing cell line NGC-0295. At physiological concentrations, neither Aβ nor Aβ had any major impact on cell viability or NGF-production. In contrast, IL-1β dose-dependently affected NGF-production over time. Exposure of NGF-producing cells to CSF from AD patients showed significantly reduced NGF-release as compared to CSF from LBD or SCI patients. By mass spectrometry we found 3 proteins involved in inflammatory pathways to have an altered expression in AD CSF compared to LBD and SCI. Cell survival and NGF-release were not affected by Aβ. NGF-release was affected by IL-1β, suggesting that inflammation has a negative effect on ECB cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2018.08.007DOI Listing
October 2018

Monoamine oxidase B is elevated in Alzheimer disease neurons, is associated with γ-secretase and regulates neuronal amyloid β-peptide levels.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2017 Aug 1;9(1):57. Epub 2017 Aug 1.

Karolinska Institutet, Department NVS, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Huddinge, Sweden.

Background: Increased levels of the pathogenic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), released from its precursor by the transmembrane protease γ-secretase, are found in Alzheimer disease (AD) brains. Interestingly, monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) activity is also increased in AD brain, but its role in AD pathogenesis is not known. Recent neuroimaging studies have shown that the increased MAO-B expression in AD brain starts several years before the onset of the disease. Here, we show a potential connection between MAO-B, γ-secretase and Aβ in neurons.

Methods: MAO-B immunohistochemistry was performed on postmortem human brain. Affinity purification of γ-secretase followed by mass spectrometry was used for unbiased identification of γ-secretase-associated proteins. The association of MAO-B with γ-secretase was studied by coimmunoprecipitation from brain homogenate, and by in-situ proximity ligation assay (PLA) in neurons as well as mouse and human brain sections. The effect of MAO-B on Aβ production and Notch processing in cell cultures was analyzed by siRNA silencing or overexpression experiments followed by ELISA, western blot or FRET analysis. Methodology for measuring relative intraneuronal MAO-B and Aβ42 levels in single cells was developed by combining immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy with quantitative image analysis.

Results: Immunohistochemistry revealed MAO-B staining in neurons in the frontal cortex, hippocampus CA1 and entorhinal cortex in postmortem human brain. Interestingly, the neuronal staining intensity was higher in AD brain than in control brain in these regions. Mass spectrometric data from affinity purified γ-secretase suggested that MAO-B is a γ-secretase-associated protein, which was confirmed by immunoprecipitation and PLA, and a neuronal location of the interaction was shown. Strikingly, intraneuronal Aβ42 levels correlated with MAO-B levels, and siRNA silencing of MAO-B resulted in significantly reduced levels of intraneuronal Aβ42. Furthermore, overexpression of MAO-B enhanced Aβ production.

Conclusions: This study shows that MAO-B levels are increased not only in astrocytes but also in pyramidal neurons in AD brain. The study also suggests that MAO-B regulates Aβ production in neurons via γ-secretase and thereby provides a key to understanding the relationship between MAO-B and AD pathogenesis. Potentially, the γ-secretase/MAO-B association may be a target for reducing Aβ levels using protein-protein interaction breakers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-017-0279-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540560PMC
August 2017

Maturation and processing of the amyloid precursor protein is regulated by the potassium/sodium hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel 2 (HCN2).

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2017 01 23;483(1):352-358. Epub 2016 Dec 23.

Karolinska Institutet, Dept. of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Novum, Blickagången 6, 141 57, Huddinge, Sweden.

The toxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) is a key player in Alzheimer Disease (AD) pathogenesis and selective inhibition of the production of this peptide is sought for. Aβ is produced by the sequential cleavage of the Aβ precursor protein (APP) by β-secretase (to yield APP-C-terminal fragment β (APP-CTFβ) and soluble APPβ (sAPPβ)) and γ-secretase (to yield Aβ). We reasoned that proteins that associate with γ-secretase are likely to regulate Aβ production and to be targets of pharmaceutical interventions and therefore performed a pull-down assay to screen for such proteins in rat brain. Interestingly, one of the purified proteins was potassium/sodium hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel 2 (HCN2), which has been shown to be involved in epilepsy. We found that silencing of HCN2 resulted in decreased secreted Aβ levels. To further investigate the mechanism behind this reduction, we also determined the levels of full-length APP, sAPP and APP-CTF species after silencing of HCN2. A marked reduction in sAPP and APP-CTF, as well as glycosylated APP levels was detected. Decreased Aβ, sAPP and APP-CTF levels were also detected after treatment with the HCN2 inhibitor ZD7288. These results indicate that the effect on Aβ levels after HCN2 silencing or inhibition is due to altered APP maturation or processing by β-secretase rather than a direct effect on γ-secretase. However, HCN2 and γ-secretase were found to be in close proximity, as evident by proximity ligation assay and immunoprecipitation. In summary, our results indicate that silencing or inhibition of HCN2 affects APP processing and thereby could serve as a potential treatment strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.12.140DOI Listing
January 2017

Super-resolution microscopy reveals γ-secretase at both sides of the neuronal synapse.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2016 Mar 31;4:29. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Department NVS, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Karolinska Institutet, 141 57, Huddinge, Sweden.

The transmembrane protein assembly γ-secretase is a key protease in regulated intramembrane processing (RIP) of around 100 type-1 transmembrane proteins. Importantly, it has a pathological role in Alzheimer disease (AD) as it generates the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide from the amyloid precursor protein (APP). Studies on γ-secretase location are therefore crucial both from a biological and a therapeutic perspective. Despite several years of efforts in many laboratories, it is not clear where in the neuron γ-secretase exerts it's activities. Technical challenges include the fact that the active enzyme contains four protein components and that most subcellular compartments cannot be spatially resolved by traditional light microscopy. Here, we have used a powerful combination of the two nanoscopy techniques STORM and STED microscopy to visualize the location of γ-secretase in neurons using an active-site specific probe, with a focus on the synapse. We show that γ-secretase is present in both the pre-and postsynaptic compartments. We further show that the enzyme is enriched very close to the synaptic cleft in the postsynaptic membrane, as well as to NMDA receptors, demonstrating that γ-secretase is present in the postsynaptic plasma membrane. Importantly, the expression of γ-secretase increased in the pre- and postsynaptic compartments with the size of the synapse, suggesting a correlation between γ-secretase activity and synapse maturation. Thus, our data shows the synaptic location with high precision in three dimensions and settles the long-lasting debate on the synaptic location of γ-secretase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-016-0296-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818506PMC
March 2016

ADAM10 and BACE1 are localized to synaptic vesicles.

J Neurochem 2015 Nov 17;135(3):606-15. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Division of Neurogeriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, Huddinge, Sweden.

Synaptic degeneration and accumulation of the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in the brain are hallmarks of Alzheimer disease. Aβ is produced by sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), by the β-secretase β-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and γ-secretase. However, Aβ generation is precluded if APP is cleaved by the α-secretase ADAM10 instead of BACE1. We have previously shown that Aβ can be produced locally at the synapse. To study the synaptic localization of the APP processing enzymes we used western blotting to demonstrate that, compared to total brain homogenate, ADAM10 and BACE1 were greatly enriched in synaptic vesicles isolated from rat brain using controlled-pore glass chromatography, whereas Presenilin1 was the only enriched component of the γ-secretase complex. Moreover, we detected ADAM10 activity in synaptic vesicles and enrichment of the intermediate APP-C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs). We confirmed the western blotting findings using in situ proximity ligation assay to demonstrate close proximity of ADAM10 and BACE1 with the synaptic vesicle marker synaptophysin in intact mouse primary hippocampal neurons. In contrast, only sparse co-localization of active γ-secretase and synaptophysin was detected. These results indicate that the first step of APP processing occurs in synaptic vesicles whereas the final step is more likely to take place elsewhere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13287DOI Listing
November 2015

Loss of neprilysin alters protein expression in the brain of Alzheimer's disease model mice.

Proteomics 2015 Oct 13;15(19):3349-55. Epub 2015 Aug 13.

Karolinska Institutet, Center for Alzheimer Research, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division for Neurogeriatrics, Huddinge, Sweden.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease displaying extracellular plaques formed by the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles consisting of protein tau. However, how these pathologies relate to the massive neuronal death that occurs in AD brains remain elusive. Neprilysin is the major Aβ-degrading enzyme and a lack thereof increases Aβ levels in the brain twofold. To identify altered protein expression levels induced by increased Aβ levels, we performed a proteomic analysis of the brain of the AD mouse model APPsw and compared it to that of APPsw mice lacking neprilysin. To this end we established an LC-MS/MS method to analyze brain homogenate, using an (18) O-labeled internal standard to accurately quantify the protein levels. To distinguish between alterations in protein levels caused by increased Aβ levels and those induced by neprilysin deficiency independently of Aβ, the brain proteome of neprilysin deficient APPsw mice was also compared to that of neprilysin deficient mice. By this approach we identified approximately 600 proteins and the levels of 300 of these were quantified. Pathway analysis showed that many of the proteins with altered expression were involved in neurological disorders, and that tau, presenilin and APP were key regulators in the identified networks. The data have been deposited to the ProteomeXchange Consortium with identifiers PXD000968 and PXD001786 (http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/dataset/PXD000968 and (http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/dataset/PXD001786). Interestingly, the levels of several proteins, including some not previously reported to be linked to AD, were associated with increased Aβ levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201400211DOI Listing
October 2015

Proton myo-inositol cotransporter is a novel γ-secretase associated protein that regulates Aβ production without affecting Notch cleavage.

FEBS J 2015 Sep 14;282(17):3438-51. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Division for Neurogeriatrics, Department of NVS, Center for Alzheimer Research, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.

γ-Secretase is a transmembrane protease complex that is responsible for the processing of a multitude of type 1 transmembrane proteins, including the amyloid precursor protein and Notch. γ-Secretase processing of amyloid precursor protein results in the release of the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), which is involved in the pathogenesis in Alzheimer's disease. Processing of Notch leads to the release of its intracellular domain, which is important for cell development. γ-Secretase associated proteins (GSAPs) could be of importance for substrate selection, and we have previously shown that affinity purification of γ-secretase in combination with mass spectrometry can be used for finding such proteins. In the present study, we used this methodology to screen for novel GSAPs from human brain, and studied their effect on Aβ production in a comprehensive gene knockdown approach. Silencing of probable phospholipid-transporting ATPase IIA, brain-derived neurotrophic factor/neurotrophin-3 growth factor receptor precursor and proton myo-inositol cotransporter (SLC2A13) showed a clear reduction of Aβ and these proteins were selected for further studies on Aβ production and Notch cleavage using small interfering RNA-mediated gene silencing, as well as an overexpression approach. Silencing of these reduced Aβ secretion in a small interfering RNA dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, SLC2A13 had a lower effect on Notch processing. Furthermore, overexpression of SLC2A13 increased Aβ40 generation. Finally, the interaction between γ-secretase and SLC2A13 was confirmed using immunoprecipitation and a proximity ligation assay. In summary, SLC2A13 was identified as a novel GSAP that regulates Aβ production without affecting Notch cleavage. We suggest that SLC2A13 could be a target for Aβ lowering therapy aimed at treating Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.13353DOI Listing
September 2015

Human brain proteins showing neuron-specific interactions with γ-secretase.

FEBS J 2015 Jul 2;282(14):2587-99. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Division for Neurogeriatrics, Huddinge, Sweden.

The transmembrane protease complex γ-secretase is a key enzyme in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis as it liberates the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ); however, the mechanism of regulation of its activity in various cell types and subcellular compartments is largely unknown. Several γ-secretase inhibitors have been developed, but none have been released due to side-effects that appear to arise from reduced processing of Notch, one of many γ-secretase substrates. Hence, it is desirable to specifically inhibit Aβ production. In our previous studies, we have identified several γ-secretase-associated proteins (GSAPs) from brain, which affect Aβ production without having any major effects on Notch processing. In the present study using detergent-resistant membranes prepared from brain, we have identified four GSAPs that affect Aβ production to a greater extent than Notch processing. We evaluated the interaction between GSAPs and γ-secretase in various cell types and their mRNA expression in various human organs. Using an in situ proximity ligation assay, we demonstrated that many GSAPs showed considerably greater interaction with γ-secretase in neurons than in human embryonic kidney cells stably over-expressing APP, and showed that several GSAPs are highly expressed in human brain. This study underscores the importance of studying protein-protein interactions in relevant cell types, and suggests that reducing Aβ production by interfering with brain- or neuron-specific γ-secretase/GSAP interactions may reduce the risk of unwanted side-effects associated with treatment of Alzheimer disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.13303DOI Listing
July 2015

Stress Conditions Increase Vimentin Cleavage by Omi/HtrA2 Protease in Human Primary Neurons and Differentiated Neuroblastoma Cells.

Mol Neurobiol 2015 Dec 8;52(3):1077-1092. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Center for Alzheimer Research, Division for Neurogeriatrics, Novum 5th floor, SE-141 57, Huddinge, Sweden.

Dysfunctional Omi/HtrA2, a mitochondrial serine protease, has been implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders. Despite the wealth of evidence on the roles of Omi/HtrA2 in apoptosis, little is known about its cytosolic targets, the cleavage of which could account for the observed morphological changes such as cytoskeletal reorganizations in axons. By proteomic analysis, vimentin was identified as a substrate for Omi/HtrA2 and we have reported increased Omi/HtrA2 protease activity in Alzheimer disease (AD) brain. Here, we investigated a possible link between Omi/HtrA2 and vimentin cleavage, and consequence of this cleavage on mitochondrial distribution in neurons. In vitro protease assays showed vimentin to be cleaved by Omi/HtrA2 protease, and proximity ligation assay demonstrated an increased interaction between Omi/HtrA2 and vimentin in human primary neurons upon stress stimuli. Using differentiated neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, we showed that Omi/HtrA2 under several different stress conditions induces cleavage of vimentin in wild-type as well as SH-SY5Y cells transfected with amyloid precursor protein with the Alzheimer disease-associated Swedish mutation. After stress treatment, inhibition of Omi/HtrA2 protease activity by the Omi/HtrA2 specific inhibitor, Ucf-101, reduced the cleavage of vimentin in wild-type cells. Following altered vimentin filaments integrity by stress stimuli, mitochondria was redistributed in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and human primary neurons. In summary, the findings outlined in this paper suggest a role of Omi/HtrA2 in modulation of vimentin filamentous structure in neurons. Our results provide important findings for understanding the biological role of Omi/HtrA2 activity during stress conditions, and give knowledge of interplay between Omi/HtrA2 and vimentin which might affect mitochondrial distribution in neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-014-8906-3DOI Listing
December 2015

Changed membrane integration and catalytic site conformation are two mechanisms behind the increased Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio by presenilin 1 familial Alzheimer-linked mutations.

FEBS Open Bio 2014 24;4:393-406. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Department of NVS, Center for Alzheimer Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

The enzyme complex γ-secretase generates amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), a 37-43-residue peptide associated with Alzheimer disease (AD). Mutations in presenilin 1 (PS1), the catalytical subunit of γ-secretase, result in familial AD (FAD). A unifying theme among FAD mutations is an alteration in the ratio Aβ species produced (the Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio), but the molecular mechanisms responsible remain elusive. In this report we have studied the impact of several different PS1 FAD mutations on the integration of selected PS1 transmembrane domains and on PS1 active site conformation, and whether any effects translate to a particular amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing phenotype. Most mutations studied caused an increase in the Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio, but via different mechanisms. The mutations that caused a particular large increase in the Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio did also display an impaired APP intracellular domain (AICD) formation and a lower total Aβ production. Interestingly, seven mutations close to the catalytic site caused a severely impaired integration of proximal transmembrane/hydrophobic sequences into the membrane. This structural defect did not correlate to a particular APP processing phenotype. Six selected FAD mutations, all of which exhibited different APP processing profiles and impact on PS1 transmembrane domain integration, were found to display an altered active site conformation. Combined, our data suggest that FAD mutations affect the PS1 structure and active site differently, resulting in several complex APP processing phenotypes, where the most aggressive mutations in terms of increased Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio are associated with a decrease in total γ-secretase activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fob.2014.04.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050182PMC
June 2014

Activity-independent release of the amyloid β-peptide from rat brain nerve terminals.

Neurosci Lett 2014 Apr 3;566:125-30. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Center for Alzheimer Research, Novum level 5, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:

Synaptic degeneration is one of the earliest hallmarks of Alzheimer disease. The molecular mechanism underlying this degeneration is not fully elucidated but one key player appears to be the synaptotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ). The exact localization of the production of Aβ and the mechanisms whereby Aβ is released remain elusive. We have earlier shown that Aβ can be produced in crude synaptic vesicle fractions and it has been reported that increased synaptic activity results in increased secreted but decreased intracellular Aβ levels. Therefore, we considered whether Aβ could be produced in synaptic vesicles and/or released through the same mechanisms as neurotransmitters in synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Small amounts of Aβ were found to be produced in pure synaptic vesicle preparations. We also studied the release of glutamate and Aβ from rat cortical nerve terminals (synaptosomes). We found that large amounts of Aβ were secreted from non-stimulated synaptosomes, from which glutamate was not released. On the contrary, we could not detect any differences in Aβ release between non-stimulated synaptosomes and synaptosomes stimulated with KCl or 4-aminopyridine, whereas glutamate release was readily inducible in this system. To conclude, our results indicate that the major release mechanism of Aβ from isolated nerve terminals differs from the synaptic release of glutamate and that the activity-dependent increase of secreted Aβ, reported by several groups using intact cells, is likely dependent on post-synaptic events, trafficking and/or protein synthesis mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2014.02.050DOI Listing
April 2014

The role of protein glycosylation in Alzheimer disease.

FEBS J 2014 Jan 26;281(1):46-62. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

Karolinska Institutet Alzheimer Disease Research Center (KI-ADRC), Novum, Stockholm, Sweden.

Glycosylation is one of the most common, and the most complex, forms of post-translational modification of proteins. This review serves to highlight the role of protein glycosylation in Alzheimer disease (AD), a topic that has not been thoroughly investigated, although glycosylation defects have been observed in AD patients. The major pathological hallmarks in AD are neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles are composed of phosphorylated tau, and the plaques are composed of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), which is generated from amyloid precursor protein (APP). Defects in glycosylation of APP, tau and other proteins have been reported in AD. Another interesting observation is that the two proteases required for the generation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), i.e. γ-secretase and β-secretase, also have roles in protein glycosylation. For instance, γ-secretase and β-secretase affect the extent of complex N-glycosylation and sialylation of APP, respectively. These processes may be important in AD pathogenesis, as proper intracellular sorting, processing and export of APP are affected by how it is glycosylated. Furthermore, lack of one of the key components of γ-secretase, presenilin, leads to defective glycosylation of many additional proteins that are related to AD pathogenesis and/or neuronal function, including nicastrin, reelin, butyrylcholinesterase, cholinesterase, neural cell adhesion molecule, v-ATPase, and tyrosine-related kinase B. Improved understanding of the effects of AD on protein glycosylation, and vice versa, may therefore be important for improving the diagnosis and treatment of AD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.12590DOI Listing
January 2014

Visualizing active enzyme complexes using a photoreactive inhibitor for proximity ligation--application on γ-secretase.

PLoS One 2013 24;8(5):e63962. Epub 2013 May 24.

KI-Alzheimer Disease Research Center-KI-ADRC, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society-NVS, Novum Level 5, Stockholm, Sweden.

Here, we present a highly sensitive method to study protein-protein interactions and subcellular location selectively for active multicomponent enzymes. We apply the method on γ-secretase, the enzyme complex that catalyzes the cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) to generate amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), the major causative agent in Alzheimer disease (AD). The novel assay is based on proximity ligation, which can be used to study protein interactions in situ with very high sensitivity. In traditional proximity ligation assay (PLA), primary antibody recognition is typically accompanied by oligonucleotide-conjugated secondary antibodies as detection probes. Here, we first performed PLA experiments using antibodies against the γ-secretase components presenilin 1 (PS1), containing the catalytic site residues, and nicastrin, suggested to be involved in substrate recognition. To selectively study the interactions of active γ-secretase, we replaced one of the primary antibodies with a photoreactive γ-secretase inhibitor containing a PEG linker and a biotin group (GTB), and used oligonucleotide-conjugated streptavidin as a probe. Interestingly, significantly fewer interactions were detected with the latter, novel, assay, which is a reasonable finding considering that a substantial portion of PS1 is inactive. In addition, the PLA signals were located more peripherally when GTB was used instead of a PS1 antibody, suggesting that γ-secretase matures distal from the perinuclear ER region. This novel technique thus enables highly sensitive protein interaction studies, determines the subcellular location of the interactions, and differentiates between active and inactive γ-secretase in intact cells. We suggest that similar PLA assays using enzyme inhibitors could be useful also for other enzyme interaction studies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0063962PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663845PMC
November 2013

The pathogenic aβ43 is enriched in familial and sporadic Alzheimer disease.

PLoS One 2013 11;8(2):e55847. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, KI-Alzheimer's Disease Research center (KI-ADRC), Huddinge, Sweden.

The amyloid-cascade hypothesis posits that the role of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in Alzheimer disease (AD) involves polymerization into structures that eventually are deposited as amyloid plaques. During this process, neurotoxic oligomers are formed that induce synaptic loss and neuronal death. Several different isoforms of Aβ are produced, of which the 40 and 42 residue variants (Aβ40 and Aβ42) are the most common. Aβ42 has a strong tendency to form neurotoxic aggregates and is involved in AD pathogenesis. Longer Aβ isoforms, like the less studied Aβ43, are gaining attention for their higher propensity to aggregate into neurotoxic oligomers. To further investigate Aβ43 in AD, we conducted a quantitative study on Aβ43 levels in human brain. We homogenized human brain tissue and prepared fractions of various solubility; tris buffered saline (TBS), sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and formic acid (FA). Levels of Aβ43, as well as Aβ40 and Aβ42, were quantified using ELISA. We compared quantitative data showing Aβ levels in occipital and frontal cortex from sporadic (SAD) and familial (FAD) AD cases, as well as non-demented (ND) controls. Results showed Aβ43 present in each fraction from the SAD and FAD cases, while its level was lower than the detection limit in the majority of the ND-cases. Aβ42 and Aβ43 were enriched in the less soluble fractions (SDS and FA) of SAD and FAD cases in both occipital and frontal cortex. Thus, although the total levels of Aβ43 in human brain are low compared to Aβ40 and Aβ42, we suggest that Aβ43 could initiate the formation of oligomers and amyloid plaques and thereby be crucial to AD pathogenesis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055847PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569467PMC
August 2013

Erlin-2 is associated with active γ-secretase in brain and affects amyloid β-peptide production.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2012 Aug 4;424(3):476-81. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Karolinska Institutet Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Alzheimer Center, KI-Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Novum, Stockholm SE-141 86, Sweden.

The transmembrane protease complex γ-secretase is responsible for the generation of the neurotoxic amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) from its precursor (APP). Aβ has a causative role in Alzheimer disease, and thus, γ-secretase is a therapeutic target. However, since there are more than 70 γ-secretase substrates besides APP, selective inhibition of APP processing is required. Recent data indicates the existence of several γ-secretase associated proteins (GSAPs) that affect the selection and processing of substrates. Here, we use a γ-secretase inhibitor for affinity purification of γ-secretase and associated proteins from microsomes and detergent resistant membranes (DRMs) prepared from rat or human brain. By tandem mass spectrometry we identified a novel brain GSAP; erlin-2. This protein was recently reported to reside in DRMs in the ER. A proximity ligation assay, as well as co-immunoprecipitation, confirmed the association of erlin-2 with γ-secretase. We found that a higher proportion of erlin-2 was associated with γ-secretase in DRMs than in soluble membranes. siRNA experiments indicated that reduced levels of erlin-2 resulted in a decreased Aβ production, whereas the effect on Notch processing was limited. In summary, we have found a novel brain GSAP, erlin-2, that resides in DRMs and affects Aβ production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.06.137DOI Listing
August 2012

Identification of two novel synaptic γ-secretase associated proteins that affect amyloid β-peptide levels without altering Notch processing.

Neurochem Int 2012 Jul 10;61(1):108-18. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Karolinska Institutet Alzheimer Disease Research Center (KI-ADRC), Novum Level 5, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.

Synaptic degeneration is one of the earliest hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD) and results in loss of cognitive function. One of the causative agents for the synaptic degeneration is the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), which is formed from its precursor protein by two sequential cleavages mediated by β- and γ-secretase. We have earlier shown that γ-secretase activity is enriched in synaptic compartments, suggesting that the synaptotoxic Aβ is produced locally. Proteins that interact with γ-secretase at the synapse and regulate the production of Aβ can therefore be potential therapeutic targets. We used a recently developed affinity purification approach to identify γ-secretase associated proteins (GSAPs) in synaptic membranes and synaptic vesicles prepared from rat brain. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of the affinity purified samples revealed the known γ-secretase components presenilin-1, nicastrin and Aph-1b along with a number of novel potential GSAPs. To investigate the effect of these GSAPs on APP processing, we performed siRNA experiments to knock down the expression of the GSAPs and measured the Aβ levels. Silencing of NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] iron-sulfur protein 7 (NDUFS7) resulted in a decrease in Aβ levels whereas silencing of tubulin polymerization promoting protein (TPPP) resulted in an increase in Aβ levels. Treatment with γ-secretase inhibitors often results in Notch-related side effects and therefore we also studied the effect of the siRNAs on Notch processing. Interestingly, silencing of TPPP or NDUFS7 did not affect cleavage of Notch. We also studied the expression of TPPP and NDUFS7 in control and AD brain and found NDUFS7 to be highly expressed in vulnerable neurons such as pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus, whereas TPPP was found to accumulate in intraneuronal granules and fibrous structures in hippocampus from AD cases. In summary, we here report on two proteins, TPPP and NDUFS7, which interact with γ-secretase and alter the Aβ levels without affecting Notch cleavage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2012.03.016DOI Listing
July 2012