PS dependent APP cleavage regulates glucosylceramide synthase and is affected in Alzheimer's disease.

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2014 June 16; 34(1):92-110.


Gangliosides were found to be associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we addressed a potential function of γ-secretase (presenilin) dependent cleavage of the amyloid-precursor-protein (APP) in the regulation of ganglioside de novo synthesis.

To identify a potential role of γ-secretase and APP in ganglioside de novo synthesis we used presenilin (PS) deficient and APP deficient cells and mouse brains, mutated PS as well as transgenic mice and AD post mortem brains. Changes in glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) activity were identified by incorporation of radiolabeled UDP-glucose in glucosylceramide, changes in gene expression via real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. Alterations in ganglioside levels were determined by thin layer chromatography and mass spectrometry.

We found that PS and APP deficiency, in vitro and in vivo, resulted in increased GCS gene expression, elevated enzyme activity and thus increased glucosylceramide and total ganglioside level. Using a specific γ-secretase inhibitor revealed that PS proteolytic activity alters ganglioside homeostasis. By the use of mutated PS causing early onset AD in cell culture and transgenic mice we found that GCS is increased in AD, further substantiated by the use of AD post mortem brains, suffering from sporadic AD.

APP processing regulates ganglioside de novo synthesis and is affected in AD.

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