June Jung, Graduate Student publishes article in Oct 28, 2014 PLoS One

“Independent Relationship between Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) Dimerization and gamma-Secretase Processivity”.
Jung JI, Premraj S, Cruz PE, Ladd TB, Kwak Y, Koo EH, Felsenstein KM, Golde TE, Ran Y.   PLoS One 2014; 9(10):e111553.


Altered production of β-amyloid (Aβ) from the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). APP has a number of homo- and hetero-dimerizing domains, and studies have suggested that dimerization of β-secretase derived APP carboxyl terminal fragment (CTFβ, C99) impairs processive cleavage by γ-secretase increasing production of long Aβs (e.g., Aβ1-42, 43). Other studies report that APP CTFβ dimers are not γ-secretase substrates. We revisited this issue due to observations made with an artificial APP mutant referred to as 3xK-APP, which contains three lysine residues at the border of the APP ectodomain and transmembrane domain (TMD). This mutant, which dramatically increases production of long Aβ, was found to form SDS-stable APP dimers, once again suggesting a mechanistic link between dimerization and increased production of long Aβ. To further evaluate how multimerization of substrate affects both initial γ-secretase cleavage and subsequent processivity, we generated recombinant wild type- (WT) and 3xK-C100 substrates, isolated monomeric, dimeric and trimeric forms of these proteins, and evaluated both ε-cleavage site utilization and Aβ production. These show that multimerization significantly impedes γ-secretase cleavage, irrespective of substrate sequence. Further, the monomeric form of the 3xK-C100 mutant increased long Aβ production without altering the initial ε-cleavage utilization. These data confirm and extend previous studies showing that dimeric substrates are not efficient γ-secretase substrates, and demonstrate that primary sequence determinants within APP substrate alter γ-secretase processivity.