Amyloid-β protein (Aβ) accumulates in the neurons of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients at an early stage of
the disease. Recently, we found that Aβ with a toxic turn at positions 22 and 23 accumulates in neurons in AD brain.
Here, we studied the accumulation of Aβ, toxic turn Aβ and high-molecular-weight Aβ oligomers in presenilin 1 (PS1)
gene-transfected SH-SY5Y cells as well as in the brains of 3xTg-AD mice and AD patients. Immunostaining revealed that
accumulation of toxic turn Aβ was promoted in G384A- and I143T-mutant PS1-transfected cells and further enhanced by
co-transfection of cells with the Aβ-precursor protein (AβPP) gene. In contrast, accumulation of high-molecular-weight
Aβ oligomers was promoted in mutant PS1 cells but attenuated by co-transfection of cells with the AβPP gene. Toxic turn
Aβ was detected in the neurons of 3xTg-AD mice aged 2 months, when the mice were cognitively unimpaired. In contrast,
high-molecular-weight Aβ oligomers were detected in the neurons of 7-month-old mice, when memory dysfunction
is apparent. Furthermore, immunostaining and western blotting for Rab4, Rab6 and GRP78 revealed increased levels of
these proteins in mutant PS1 cells and their accumulation in the neurons of 3xTg-AD mice. Remarkably, GRP78 immunoreactivity
was increased at 2 months of age. Double-label immunostaining of AD brain revealed an apparent association
between toxic turn Aβ and GRP78, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress marker. Intraneuronal accumulation of toxic
turn Aβ may be associated with ER stress in the brains of AD model mice and AD patients at an early stage.
Keywords: Amyloid-β protein, endoplasmic reticulum stress, GRP78, oligomers, Rab protein, presenilin 1, toxic turn
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