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  • Owens et al 2022 LU

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BACE1 Overexpression Reduces SH-SY5Y Cell Viability Through a Mechanism Distinct from Amyloid-β Peptide Accumulation: Beta Prime-Mediated Competitive Depletion of sAβPPα

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>5/04/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1201-1220
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date15/02/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: The Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-associated amyloid-beta protein precursor (AβPP) can be cleaved by β-site AβPP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and the γ-secretase complex to yield neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. However, AβPP can also be cleaved in a ‘non-amyloidogenic’ manner either by α-secretase to produce soluble AβPP alpha (sAβPPα) (a fragment with neuroprotective/neurogenic functions) or through alternative BACE1-mediated ‘beta prime’ activity yielding soluble AβPP beta prime (sAβPPβ’). Objective: To determine whether sAβPPα depletion, as opposed to Aβ peptide accumulation, contributes to cytotoxicity in AD-relevant SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell models. Methods: AβPP proteolysis was characterized by immunoblotting in mock-, wild-type AβPP (wtAβPP)-, BACE1-, and Swedish mutant AβPP (SweAβPP)-transfected cells. AβPP beta prime cleavage was confirmed through secretase inhibitor studies and C-terminal fragment analysis. The roles of sAβPPα and sAβPPβ’ in cell viability were confirmed by overexpression studies. Results: Despite producing enhanced Aβ peptide levels, wtAβPP- and SweAβPP-transfected cells did not exhibit reduced viability whereas BACE1-transfected cells did. sAβPPα generation in SH-SY5Y-BACE1 cells was virtually ablated in lieu of BACE1-mediated sAβPPβ’ production. sAβPPα overexpression in SH-SY5Y-BACE1 cells restored viability whereas sAβPPβ’ overexpression decreased viability further. The anti-AβPP 6E10 antibody was shown to cross-react with sAβPPβ’. Conclusion: sAβPPα depletion and/or sAβPPβ’ accumulation, but not elevated Aβ peptide levels, represent the cytotoxic mechanism following BACE1 overexpression in SH-SY5Y cells. These data support the novel concept that competitive sAβPPα depletion by BACE1 beta prime activity might contribute to AD. The cross-reactivity of 6E10 with AβPPβ’also questions whether previous studies assessing sAβPPα as a biomarker using this antibody should be revisited.

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