Familial Alzheimer's Disease Mutations in PSEN1 Lead to Premature Human Stem Cell Neurogenesis

Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 12;34(2):108615. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108615.


Mutations in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) or presenilin 2 (PSEN2), the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase, cause familial Alzheimer's disease (fAD). We hypothesized that mutations in PSEN1 reduce Notch signaling and alter neurogenesis. Expression data from developmental and adult neurogenesis show relative enrichment of Notch and γ-secretase expression in stem cells, whereas expression of APP and β-secretase is enriched in neurons. We observe premature neurogenesis in fAD iPSCs harboring PSEN1 mutations using two orthogonal systems: cortical differentiation in 2D and cerebral organoid generation in 3D. This is partly driven by reduced Notch signaling. We extend these studies to adult hippocampal neurogenesis in mutation-confirmed postmortem tissue. fAD cases show mutation-specific effects and a trend toward reduced abundance of newborn neurons, supporting a premature aging phenotype. Altogether, these results support altered neurogenesis as a result of fAD mutations and suggest that neural stem cell biology is affected in aging and disease.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; NOTCH; PSEN1; hippocampus; iPSC; neurogenesis; organoid; γ-secretase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / genetics
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Mutation*
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics*
  • Presenilin-1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism


  • PSEN1 protein, human
  • Presenilin-1
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases