Differential Proteolysis of the Amyloid Precursor Protein Isoforms: The Role of Cellular Location and Protein-Protein Interactions

  • Robert Andrew

    Student thesis: Phd


    Dementia, the most common cause of which is Alzheimer's disease (AD), currently affects 850,000 people in the UK, a figure set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. There is currently no disease modifying therapy available to slow or halt this progressive disease. Current understanding of AD implicates the neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide as the primary initiator in a cascade of events leading to the neuronal cell death and brain atrophy associated with the disease. Therefore, inhibiting the production or enhancing the clearance of Aβ within the brain has become a major target for the production of disease modifying therapeutics. Aβ is produced by brain cells through the sequential proteolytic cleavage of a larger transmembrane protein known as the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. Several aspects of APP physiology can influence its proteolysis, and thus Aβ production, including the isoform of APP which is expressed, its trafficking and subcellular location and its physical interactions with other proteins in the cellular environment. Here we have investigated the influence of subcellular trafficking and location and protein-protein interactions on the differential proteolysis of two APP isoforms, APP695 and APP751 in a neuroblastoma cell line. We have shown that APP751 undergoes less amyloidogenic proteolysis than APP695 and that retention within the early secretory pathway may contribute to this difference. APP751 shows higher co-localisation to the trans-Golgi network than APP695 in immunofluorescence microscopy studies, while addition of a mutation which causes APP proteolysis in the secretory pathway reduces the large difference in amyloidogenic proteolysis of these two isoforms. Targeting APP endocytosis from the cell surface, thought to be a key determinant in Aβ generation, effects APP isoform proteolysis and Aβ production to a similar extent in both the APP isoforms suggesting differences in proteolysis occur before this trafficking event. We also show by immunoblot analysis that the APP isoforms may be differentially cleaved by proteases other than β- and γ-secretase to produce recently identified proteolytic fragments. Using a liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry approach coupled to prior stable isotope labelling of amino acids in cell culture (SILAC), we have identified the interactomes of the two APP isoforms in our model system. Gene ontology analysis identified enrichment of nuclear and mitochondrial proteins specifically in the APP695 interactome. Using siRNA mediated protein knockdown, we have shown interactions with Fe65 and ataxin-10 specifically influence Aβ generation from the APP695 isoform. Fe65 alters proteolysis at the rate limiting β-secretase cleavage step, while ataxin-10 alters proteolysis by γ-secretase. Interaction with growth-associated protein 43 specifically influences Aβ generation from the APP751 isoform, altering proteolysis at the γ-secretase step. Finally we have shown that recently discovered familial AD-linked mutation and protective mutation within the Aβ region of the APP protein have consistent effects on APP proteolysis in both the APP isoforms.
    Date of Award31 Dec 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorStuart Pickering-Brown (Supervisor) & Nigel Hooper (Supervisor)


    • Proteolysis
    • Alzheimers disease
    • Amyloid precursor protein
    • Amyloid-beta
    • interactome

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