Abstract

One hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the presence of amyloid plaques, which mainly consist of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleavage product amyloid β (Aβ). For cleavage to occur, the APP must be endocytosed from the cell surface. The phosphatidylinositol binding clathrin assembly protein (PICALM) is involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and polymorphisms in and near the gene locus were identified as genetic risk factors for AD. PICALM overexpression enhances APP internalization and Aβ production. Furthermore, PICALM shuttles into the nucleus, but its function within the nucleus is still unknown. Using co-immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated an interaction between PICALM and APP, which is abrogated by mutation of the APP NPXY-motif. Since the NPXY-motif is an internalization signal that binds to phosphotryrosine-binding domain-containing adaptor proteins (PTB-APs), we hypothesized that PTB-APs can modulate the APP-PICALM interaction. We found that interaction between PICALM and the PTB-APs (Numb, JIP1b and GULP1) enhances the APP-PICALM interaction. Fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis and internalization assays revealed differentially altered APP cell surface levels and endocytosis rates that depended upon the presence of PICALM and co-expression of distinct PTB-APs. Additionally, we were able to show an impact of PICALM nuclear shuttling upon co-expression of PTB-APs and PICALM, with the magnitude of the effect depending on which PTB-AP was co-expressed. Taken together, our results indicate a modulating effect of PTB-APs on PICALM-mediated APP endocytosis and localization.

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