A study of presenilin 1 (PS1) defects involved in Alzheimer diseases (AD)

Project leader

Funding source

Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor

Project Details

Start date: 12/02/2010
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 20000 SEK


Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD)-linked presenilin (PS) mutations are scattered throughout the PS molecule. One third of PS1 residues are highly conserved and 75 % of the FAD mutations are located to highly conserved regions. Defects in the gene PSEN1 are a cause of familial early-onset Alzheimer disease type 3 (AD3). AD3 is the most severe form of the disease with onset as early as 30 years of age.

Polytopic membrane protein biogenesis represents a critical yet poorly understood area of modern biology with important implications for human disease. Inherited mutations in a growing array of membrane proteins frequently lead to improper folding and trafficking. It has been suggested that PS1 is an example in which point mutations lead to a loss of structure and function of the g-secretase biochemically.

Multi-spanning presenilins, PS1 and PS2, are critical components of a large enzyme complex that perform g-secretase cleavage of amyloid-b precursor protein (APP) to generate amyloid b-peptide (Ab. PS1 has a rather complex topology with 10 hydrophobic segments, but only 9 transmembrane (TM) domains, and given its biomedical importance, PS1 is of particularly interest to study membrane insertion of missense mutations in the PSEN1 gene. Many of PS1s gene mutations are located in the TM regions and among them we have a special interest for the non-conservative ones. Many PS mutations change the level of Ab production.

In this study, we will systematically compare the ability of each TM segment, without and with a missense mutation in the human PS1 gene, to insert into the ER membrane, using an assay that allows precise measurement of the efficiency of membrane insertion of hydrophobic segments engineered into a model protein. The topology of a membrane protein is largely dependent on the hydrophobicity of the TM segments and charged residues flanking the TM segments play an important role during insertion into the membrane. It would, therefore, be very interesting to examine the specific role of each of the non-conservative mutations located in TM segments of PS1 and their influence on the insertion into the ER membrane, on the position of the TM segment relative to the membrane and on the level of the Ab production.

To further continue the PS study, we will investigate the level of Ab production and the g-secretase activity using mutated PS. Many PS mutations change the level of Ab production and the ratio of Ab42/Ab40 fragments during g-secretase cleavage. We will also investigate the molecular mechanisms whereby mutations in PS1 cause familial AD (FAD). To date, more than 140 mutations in PS1 have been shown co-segregate with the disease. Intriguingly, almost all PS1 FAD mutations increase the Ab42/Ab40 ratio. That the mutations induce a global conformational change of the PS1 protein, thereby subtly altering g-secretase cleavage, has been proposed but remain to be shown.

The plan is to continue the main work to examine the integration of different TM segments without and with mutations into the ER membrane and to investigate the ratio of Ab42/Ab40 and AICD formation obtained by the cell based assays during 2010 until the end of 2011.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:06