Structure-dependent impairment of intracellular apolipoprotein E4 trafficking and its detrimental effects are rescued by small-molecule structure correctors

J Biol Chem. 2011 May 13;286(19):17217-26. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.217380. Epub 2011 Mar 18.


Apolipoprotein (apo) E4 is the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD) and likely contributes to neuropathology through various pathways. Here we report that the intracellular trafficking of apoE4 is impaired in Neuro-2a cells and primary neurons, as shown by measuring fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. In Neuro-2a cells, more apoE4 than apoE3 molecules remained immobilized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi apparatus, and the lateral motility of apoE4 was significantly lower in the Golgi apparatus (but not in the ER) than that of apoE3. Likewise, the immobile fraction was larger, and the lateral motility was lower for apoE4 than apoE3 in mouse primary hippocampal neurons. ApoE4 with the R61T mutation, which abolishes apoE4 domain interaction, was less immobilized, and its lateral motility was comparable with that of apoE3. The trafficking impairment of apoE4 was also rescued by disrupting domain interaction with the small-molecule structure correctors GIND25 and PH002. PH002 also rescued apoE4-induced impairments of neurite outgrowth in Neuro-2a cells and dendritic spine development in primary neurons. ApoE4 did not affect trafficking of amyloid precursor protein, another AD-related protein, through the secretory pathway. Thus, domain interaction renders more newly synthesized apoE4 molecules immobile and slows their trafficking along the secretory pathway. Correcting the pathological structure of apoE4 by disrupting domain interaction is a potential therapeutic approach to treat or prevent AD related to apoE4.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • APP protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Apolipoprotein E4