The recycling of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) from the cell surface via the endocytic pathways plays a key role in the generation of amyloid beta peptide (Abeta) in Alzheimer disease. We report here that inherited variants in the SORL1 neuronal sorting receptor are associated with late-onset Alzheimer disease. These variants, which occur in at least two different clusters of intronic sequences within the SORL1 gene (also known as LR11 or SORLA) may regulate tissue-specific expression of SORL1. We also show that SORL1 directs trafficking of APP into recycling pathways and that when SORL1 is underexpressed, APP is sorted into Abeta-generating compartments. These data suggest that inherited or acquired changes in SORL1 expression or function are mechanistically involved in causing Alzheimer disease.