Dyrk1A-mediated phosphorylation of Presenilin 1: a functional link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease

J Neurochem. 2010 Nov;115(3):574-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06769.x. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


The dual-specificity tyrosine(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (Dyrk1A) gene is located on human chromosome 21 and encodes a proline-directed protein kinase that might be responsible for mental retardation and early onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in Down syndrome (DS) patients. Presenilin 1 (PS1) is a key component of the γ-secretase complex in the generation of β-amyloid (Aβ), an important trigger protein in the pathogenesis of AD. Increased Dyrk1A expression has been reported in human AD and DS brains. We previously showed that Dyrk1A increased Aβ production in mammalian cells and transgenic mice that over-express Dyrk1A. In this study, we describe a potential mechanism by which Aβ is increased in Dyrk1A-over-expressing DS and AD brains. First, we show that PS1 is phosphorylated by the Dyrk1A at Thr(354) and that this phosphorylation increases γ-secretase activity. Then, using transgenic mice that over-express human Dyrk1A, we demonstrate that phospho-Thr354-PS1 (pT354-PS1) expression is enhanced when Dyrk1A level is increased. We also show that pT354-PS1 is more stable than the unphosphorylated form of PS1. These results reveal a potential regulatory link between Dyrk1A and PS1 in the Aβ pathway of DS and AD brains, suggesting that up-regulated Dyrk1A may accelerate AD pathogenesis through PS1 phosphorylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / biosynthesis
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Presenilin-1 / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Presenilin-1
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Dyrk kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases