Introduction: Recently, a whole-exome sequencing (WES) study showed that a rare variant rs145999145 composed of p.Val232Met located in exon 7 of the phospholipase D3 (PLD3) gene confers a doubled risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Knockdown of PLD3 elevates the levels of extracellular amyloid-beta (Aβ), suggesting that PLD3 acts as a negative regulator of Aβ precursor protein (APP) processing. However, the precise cellular location and distribution of PLD3 in AD brains remain largely unknown.
Methods: By quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR), western blot, immunohistochemistry, and bioinformatics analysis, we studied PLD3 expression patterns and levels in a series of AD and control brains, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, and non-neurological cases.
Results: The levels of PLD3 mRNA and protein expression were reduced modestly in AD brains, compared with those in non-AD brains. In all brains, PLD3 was expressed constitutively in cortical neurons, hippocampal pyramidal and granular neurons but not in glial cells. Notably, PLD3 immunoreactivity was accumulated on neuritic plaques in AD brains. We identified the human granulin (GRN) gene encoding progranulin (PRGN) as one of most significant genes coexpressed with PLD3 by bioinformatics database search. PLD3 was actually coexpressed and interacted with PGRN both in cultured cells in vitro and in AD brains in vivo.
Conclusions: We identified an intense accumulation of PLD3 on neuritic plaques coexpressed with PGRN in AD brains, suggesting that PLD3 plays a key role in the pathological processes of AD.