Alzheimer's disease (AD)-linked mutations in Presenilins (PSEN) and the amyloid precursor protein (APP) lead to production of longer amyloidogenic Aβ peptides. The shift in Aβ length is fundamental to the disease; however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we show that substrate shortening progressively destabilizes the consecutive enzyme-substrate (E-S) complexes that characterize the sequential γ-secretase processing of APP. Remarkably, pathogenic PSEN or APP mutations further destabilize labile E-S complexes and thereby promote generation of longer Aβ peptides. Similarly, destabilization of wild-type E-S complexes by temperature, compounds, or detergent promotes release of amyloidogenic Aβ. In contrast, E-Aβn stabilizers increase γ-secretase processivity. Our work presents a unifying model for how PSEN or APP mutations enhance amyloidogenic Aβ production, suggests that environmental factors may increase AD risk, and provides the theoretical basis for the development of γ-secretase/substrate stabilizing compounds for the prevention of AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; amyloid precursor protein; enzyme thermoactivity; presenilin; protein thermosability; γ-secretase.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.