Disruption of retromer-dependent endosomal trafficking is considered pathogenic in late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, to investigate this disruption in the intact brain, we turn to a genetic mouse model where the retromer core protein VPS35 is depleted in hippocampal neurons, and then we replete VPS35 using an optimized viral vector protocol. The VPS35 depletion-repletion studies strengthen the causal link between the neuronal retromer and AD-associated neuronal phenotypes, including the acceleration of amyloid precursor protein cleavage and the loss of synaptic glutamate receptors. Moreover, the studies show that the neuronal retromer can regulate a distinct, dystrophic, microglia morphology, phenotypic of hippocampal microglia in AD. Finally, the neuronal and, in part, the microglia responses to VPS35 depletion were found to occur independent of tau. Showing that the neuronal retromer can regulate AD-associated pathologies in two of AD's principal cell types strengthens the link, and clarifies the mechanism, between endosomal trafficking and late-onset sporadic AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; SORL1; VPS35; astrocytes; endosomal trafficking; gene therapy; late-onset AD; microglia; mouse models; retromer.
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