The epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) has been found to be a risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While the pathogenic mechanism of APOE in AD is not yet clear, APOE isoforms appear to differentially influence the aggregation of A beta, the principal component of Alzheimer-associated beta-amyloid deposits.
To date, no data are available for the propensity of A beta to aggregate in the presence of APOE under conditions where these components are at physiological concentrations (in cerebrospinal fluid, APOE and A beta are approximately 100 nM and approximately 5 nM, respectively). We employed a novel in vitro filtration assay for detecting zinc(II)- and copper(II)-induced aggregation of A beta in solutions containing concentrations of the peptide that are similar to those reported for human cerebrospinal fluid.
The potential for resolubilization with EDTA and the relative densities of zinc- and copper-induced A beta aggregates were also compared. Zinc-induced A beta aggregates were found to be denser and less easily resolubilized than copper-induced precipitates. Metal-induced aggregation of A beta was studied in the presence of purified apolipoprotein E2, apolipoprotein E3, and apolipoprotein E4 under conditions that approximate the physiological concentrations and ratios of these proteins.
In the presence of all three APOE isoforms, zinc-induced aggregation of A beta was attenuated, while precipitation with copper was enhanced. Consistent with the increased risk for AD associated with the epsilon 4 allele of APOE, metal-induced aggregation of A beta was highest for both zinc and copper in the presence of apolipoprotein E4.
Our data are consistent with a role for APOE as an in vivo molecular chaperone for A beta.
Source: Biochemistry 1999 Apr 6;38(14):4595-603
PMID: 10194381, UI: 99211909
(Genetics and Aging Unit, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129-2060, USA.)