APP and DYRK1A regulate axonal and synaptic vesicle protein networks and mediate Alzheimer's pathology in trisomy 21 neurons

Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Apr;27(4):1970-1989. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01454-5. Epub 2022 Feb 23.


Trisomy 21 (T21) causes Down syndrome and an early-onset form of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we used human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) along with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to investigate the contribution of chromosome 21 candidate genes to AD-relevant neuronal phenotypes. We utilized a direct neuronal differentiation protocol to bypass neurodevelopmental cell fate phenotypes caused by T21 followed by unbiased proteomics and western blotting to define the proteins dysregulated in T21 postmitotic neurons. We show that normalization of copy number of APP and DYRK1A each rescue elevated tau phosphorylation in T21 neurons, while reductions of RCAN1 and SYNJ1 do not. To determine the T21 alterations relevant to early-onset AD, we identified common pathways altered in familial Alzheimer's disease neurons and determined which of these were rescued by normalization of APP and DYRK1A copy number in T21 neurons. These studies identified disruptions in T21 neurons in both the axonal cytoskeletal network and presynaptic proteins that play critical roles in axonal transport and synaptic vesicle cycling. These alterations in the proteomic profiles have functional consequences: fAD and T21 neurons exhibit dysregulated axonal trafficking and T21 neurons display enhanced synaptic vesicle release. Taken together, our findings provide insights into the initial molecular alterations within neurons that ultimately lead to synaptic loss and axonal degeneration in Down syndrome and early-onset AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism
  • Axons
  • Down Syndrome* / genetics
  • Down Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Dyrk kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases