Identification and Analysis of Axolotl Homologs for Proteins Implicated in Human Neurodegenerative Proteinopathies

Genes (Basel). 2024 Feb 28;15(3):310. doi: 10.3390/genes15030310.


Neurodegenerative proteinopathies such as Alzheimer's Disease are characterized by abnormal protein aggregation and neurodegeneration. Neuroresilience or regenerative strategies to prevent neurodegeneration, preserve function, or restore lost neurons may have the potential to combat human proteinopathies; however, the adult human brain possesses a limited capacity to replace lost neurons. In contrast, axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) show robust brain regeneration. To determine whether axolotls may help identify potential neuroresilience or regenerative strategies in humans, we first interrogated whether axolotls express putative proteins homologous to human proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases. We compared the homology between human and axolotl proteins implicated in human proteinopathies and found that axolotls encode proteins highly similar to human microtubule-binding protein tau (tau), amyloid precursor protein (APP), and β-secretase 1 (BACE1), which are critically involved in human proteinopathies like Alzheimer's Disease. We then tested monoclonal Tau and BACE1 antibodies previously used in human and rodent neurodegenerative disease studies using immunohistochemistry and western blotting to validate the homology for these proteins. These studies suggest that axolotls may prove useful in studying the role of these proteins in disease within the context of neuroresilience and repair.

Keywords: axolotl; neurodegeneration; proteinopathy; proteins; regeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease* / genetics
  • Ambystoma mexicanum / genetics
  • Ambystoma mexicanum / metabolism
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / genetics
  • Proteostasis Deficiencies*
  • tau Proteins / genetics


  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • tau Proteins