Regulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) phosphorylation and processing by p35/Cdk5 and p25/Cdk5

FEBS Lett. 2003 Jul 17;547(1-3):193-6. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(03)00714-2.


The phosphorylation status of amyloid precursor protein (APP) at Thr668 is suggested to play a critical role in the proteolytic cleavage of APP, which generates either soluble APP(beta) (sAPP(beta)) and beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta), the major component of senile plaques in patient brains inflicted with Alzheimer's disease (AD), or soluble APP(alpha) (sAPP(alpha)) and a peptide smaller than Abeta. One of the protein kinases known to phosphorylate APP(Thr668) is cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5). Cdk5 is activated by the association with its regulatory partner p35 or its truncated form, p25, which is elevated in AD brains. The comparative effects of p35 and p25 on APP(Thr668) phosphorylation and APP processing, however, have not been reported. In this study, we investigated APP(Thr668) phosphorylation and APP processing mediated by p35/Cdk5 and p25/Cdk5 in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. Transient overexpression of p35 and p25 elicited distinct patterns of APP(Thr668) phosphorylation, specifically, p35 increasing the phosphorylation of both mature and immature APP, whereas p25 primarily elevated the phosphorylation of immature APP. Despite these differential effects on APP phosphorylation, both p35 and p25 overexpression enhanced the secretion of Abeta, sAPP(beta), as well as sAPP(alpha). These results confirm the involvement of Cdk5 in APP processing, and suggest that p35- and p25-mediated Cdk5 activities lead to discrete APP phosphorylation.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phosphothreonine / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Threonine
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • neuronal Cdk5 activator (p25-p35)
  • Phosphothreonine
  • Threonine