beta-Secretase cleavage is not required for generation of the intracellular C-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor family of proteins

FEBS J. 2010 Mar;277(6):1503-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2010.07579.x. Epub 2010 Feb 15.


The amyloid precursor family of proteins are of considerable interest, both because of their role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis and because of their normal physiological functions. In mammals, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) has two homologs, amyloid precursor-like protein (APLP) 1 and APLP2. All three proteins undergo ectodomain shedding and regulated intramembrane proteolysis, and important functions have been attributed to the full-length proteins, shed ectodomains, C-terminal fragments and intracellular domains (ICDs). One of the proteases that is known to cleave APP and that is essential for generation of the amyloid beta-protein is the beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1). Here, we investigated the effects of genetic manipulation of BACE1 on the processing of the APP family of proteins. BACE1 expression regulated the levels and species of full-length APLP1, APP and APLP2, of their shed ectodomains, and of their membrane-bound C-terminal fragments. In particular, APP processing appears to be tightly regulated, with changes in beta-cleaved APPs (APPsbeta) being compensated for by changes in alpha-cleaved APPs (APPsalpha). In contrast, the total levels of soluble cleaved APLP1 and APLP2 species were less tightly regulated, and fluctuated with BACE1 expression. Importantly, the production of ICDs for all three proteins was not decreased by loss of BACE1 activity. These results indicate that BACE1 is involved in regulating ectodomain shedding, maturation and trafficking of the APP family of proteins. Consequently, whereas inhibition of BACE1 is unlikely to adversely affect potential ICD-mediated signaling, it may alter other important facets of amyloid precursor-like protein/APP biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / genetics
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Aplp1 protein, mouse
  • Aplp2 protein, mouse
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • Bace1 protein, mouse