Turnover of amyloid precursor protein family members determines their nuclear signaling capability

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e69363. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069363. Print 2013.


The amyloid precursor protein (APP) as well as its homologues, APP-like protein 1 and 2 (APLP1 and APLP2), are cleaved by α-, β-, and γ-secretases, resulting in the release of their intracellular domains (ICDs). We have shown that the APP intracellular domain (AICD) is transported to the nucleus by Fe65 where they jointly bind the histone acetyltransferase Tip60 and localize to spherical nuclear complexes (AFT complexes), which are thought to be sites of transcription. We have now analyzed the subcellular localization and turnover of the APP family members. Similarly to AICD, the ICD of APLP2 localizes to spherical nuclear complexes together with Fe65 and Tip60. In contrast, the ICD of APLP1, despite binding to Fe65, does not translocate to the nucleus. In addition, APLP1 predominantly localizes to the plasma membrane, whereas APP and APLP2 are detected in vesicular structures. APLP1 also demonstrates a much slower turnover of the full-length protein compared to APP and APLP2. We further show that the ICDs of all APP family members are degraded by the proteasome and that the N-terminal amino acids of ICDs determine ICD degradation rate. Together, our results suggest that different nuclear signaling capabilities of APP family members are due to different rates of full-length protein processing and ICD proteasomal degradation. Our results provide evidence in support of a common nuclear signaling function for APP and APLP2 that is absent in APLP1, but suggest that APLP1 has a regulatory role in the nuclear translocation of APP family ICDs due to the sequestration of Fe65.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lysine Acetyltransferase 5
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • APBB1 protein, human
  • APLP1 protein, human
  • APLP2 protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • KAT5 protein, human
  • Lysine Acetyltransferase 5

Grant support

This work was supported by the SNF No. 31003A_130148 (http://www.snf.ch/E/Pages/default.aspx), the NCCR on Neural Plasticity and Repair (http://www.nccr-neuro.ethz.ch/), and the Gottfried und Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Stiftung (http://www.bangerter-stiftung.ch/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.