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Zebrafish (Danio rerio) presenilin promotes aberrant amyloid beta-peptide production and requires a critical aspartate residue for its function in amyloidogenesis.

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By Leimer U, Lun K, Romig H, Walter J, Grunberg J, Br • • October 12, 1999

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the invariable accumulation of senile plaques composed of amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta). Mutations in three genes are known to cause familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). The mutations occur in the genes encoding the beta-amyloid precursor protein (betaAPP) and presenilin (PS1) and PS2 and cause the increased secretion of the pathologically relevant 42 amino acid Abeta42.

We have now cloned the zebrafish (Danio rerio) PS1 homologue (zf-PS1) to study its function in amyloidogenesis and to prove the critical requirement of an unusual aspartate residue within the seventh putative transmembrane domain. In situ hybridization and reverse PCR reveal that zf-PS1 is maternally inherited and ubiquitously expressed during embryogenesis, suggesting an essential housekeeping function. zf-PS1 is proteolytically processed to produce a C-terminal fragment (CTF) of approximately 24 kDa similar to human PS proteins.

Surprisingly, wt zf-PS1 promotes aberrant Abeta42 secretion like FAD associated human PS1 mutations. The unexpected pathologic activity of wt zf-PS1 may be due to several amino acid exchanges at positions where FAD-associated mutations have been observed. The amyloidogenic function of zf-PS1 depends on the conserved aspartate residue 374 within the seventh putative transmembrane domain. Mutagenizing this critical aspartate residue abolishes endoproteolysis of zf-PS1 and inhibits Abeta secretion in human cells. Inhibition of Abeta secretion is accompanied by the accumulation of C-terminal fragments of betaAPP, suggesting a defect in gamma-secretase activity.

These data provide further evidence that PS proteins are directly involved in the proteolytic cleavage of betaAPP and demonstrate that this function is evolutionarily conserved.

Source: Biochemistry 1999 Oct 12;38(41):13602-9
PMID: 10521267, UI: 99452701

(Department of Molecular Biology, J5, Central Institute of Mental Health, 68159 Mannheim, Germany, Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, INF 364, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany, Department of Biological Research, Boehringer. )

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