Macroautophagy is not directly involved in the metabolism of amyloid precursor protein.
Boland B., Smith DA., Mooney D., Jung SS., Walsh DM., Platt FM.
Alterations in the metabolism of amyloid precursor protein (APP) are believed to play a central role in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis. Burgeoning data indicate that APP is proteolytically processed in endosomal-autophagic-lysosomal compartments. In this study, we used both in vivo and in vitro paradigms to determine whether alterations in macroautophagy affect APP metabolism. Three mouse models of glycosphingolipid storage diseases, namely Niemann-Pick type C1, GM1 gangliosidosis, and Sandhoff disease, had mTOR-independent increases in the autophagic vacuole (AV)-associated protein, LC3-II, indicative of impaired lysosomal flux. APP C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs) were also increased in brains of the three mouse models; however, discrepancies between LC3-II and APP-CTFs were seen between primary (GM1 gangliosidosis and Sandhoff disease) and secondary (Niemann-Pick type C1) lysosomal storage models. APP-CTFs were proportionately higher than LC3-II in cerebellar regions of GM1 gangliosidosis and Sandhoff disease, although LC3-II increased before APP-CTFs in brains of NPC1 mice. Endogenous murine Aβ40 from RIPA-soluble extracts was increased in brains of all three mice. The in vivo relationship between AV and APP-CTF accumulation was also seen in cultured neurons treated with agents that impair primary (chloroquine and leupeptin + pepstatin) and secondary (U18666A and vinblastine) lysosomal flux. However, Aβ secretion was unaffected by agents that induced autophagy (rapamycin) or impaired AV clearance, and LC3-II-positive AVs predominantly co-localized with degradative LAMP-1-positive lysosomes. These data suggest that neuronal macroautophagy does not directly regulate APP metabolism but highlights the important anti-amyloidogenic role of lysosomal proteolysis in post-secretase APP-CTF catabolism.