The association of familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) with mutations in Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein (APP) suggests important functions for APP in the central nervous system. Mutations in APP impair its function to confer resistance to apoptosis in cells under stress, and this may contribute to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, but the mechanisms involved are unknown. We examined the role of the late Simian virus 40 transcription factor (LSF), in anti-apoptotic APP pathways. We show that in APP-deficient B103 cells, expression of wild-type human APP (hAPPwt), but not of FAD-mutant APP, inhibited staurosporine (STS)-induced apoptosis. This inhibition was further enhanced by expression of LSFwt, although LSFwt alone was not sufficient to inhibit STS-induced apoptosis. In contrast, expression of dominant-negative LSF led to a marked increase in STS-induced cell death that was significantly blocked by hAPPwt. These effects of APP were accompanied by LSF nuclear translocation and dependent gene transcription. The activation of LSF is dependent on the expression of hAPPwt and is inhibited by the expression of dominant-negative forms of either phosphoinositide 3-kinase or Akt. These results demonstrate that LSF activation is required for the neuroprotective effects of APP via phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt signalling. Alterations in this pathway by aberrations in APP and/or LSF could promote neuronal loss in AD brain, due to secondary insults. Thus a link is established between APP and LSF and AD.

Abbreviations used: AD, Alzheimer's disease; APP, Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein; CAT, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase; DIG, digoxigenin; DTT, dithiothreitol; EMSA, electrophoretic mobility-shift assay; FAD, familial AD; GSK, glycogen synthase kinase; LSF, late Simian virus 40 transcription factor; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethyl thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide; PI 3-kinase, phosphoinositide 3-kinase; PKC, protein kinase C; STS, staurosporine; TS, thymidylate synthase.

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