Specific increase in amyloid beta-protein 42 secretion ratio by calpain inhibition
Biochemistry 36(27): 8377-83
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Cerebral deposition of amyloid beta-protein (Abeta) as senile plaques is a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Abeta falls into two major subspecies defined by their C-termini, Abeta40 and Abeta42, ending in Val-40 and Ala-42, respectively. Although Abeta42 accounts for only approximately 10% of secreted Abeta, Abeta42 is the predominant species accumulated in senile plaques in AD brain and appears to be the initially deposited species. Its secretion level has recently been reported to be increased in the plasma or culture media of fibroblasts from patients affected by any of early-onset familial AD (FAD). Thus, inhibition of Abeta42 production would be one of the therapeutic targets for AD. However, there is little information about the cleavage mechanism via which Abeta40 and Abeta42 are generated and its relationship to intracellular protease activity. Here, we examined by well-characterized enzyme immunoassay the effects of calpain and proteasome inhibitors on the levels of Abeta40 and Abeta42 secretion by cultured cells. A calpastatin peptide homologous to the inhibitory domain of calpastatin, an endogenous calpain specific inhibitor, induced a specific increase in secreted Abeta42 relative to the total secreted Abeta level, a characteristic of the cultured cells transfected with FAD-linked mutated genes, while a proteasome specific inhibitor, lactacystin, showed no such effect. These findings suggest that the Abeta42 secretion ratio is modulated by the calpain-calpastatin system and may point to the possibility of exploring particular compounds that inhibit Abeta42 secretion through this pathway.