Yu Y, Gao Y, Winblad B, Tjernberg LO, Schedin-Weiss S
J. Alzheimers Dis. 83 (2) 833-852 [2021-08-10; online 2021-08-10]
Processing of the amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) is neurophysiologically important due to the resulting fragments that regulate synapse biology, as well as potentially harmful due to generation of the 42 amino acid long amyloid β-peptide (Aβ42), which is a key player in Alzheimer's disease. Our aim was to clarify the subcellular locations of the fragments involved in the amyloidogenic pathway in primary neurons with a focus on Aβ42 and its immediate substrate AβPP C-terminal fragment (APP-CTF). To overcome the difficulties of resolving these compartments due to their small size, we used super-resolution microscopy. Mouse primary hippocampal neurons were immunolabelled and imaged by stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, including three-dimensional three-channel imaging, and quantitative image analyses. The first (β-secretase) and second (γ-secretase) cleavages of AβPP were localized to functionally and distally distinct compartments. The β-secretase cleavage was observed in early endosomes in soma, where we were able to show that the liberated N- and C-terminal fragments were sorted into distinct vesicles budding from the early endosomes. Lack of colocalization of Aβ42 and APP-CTF in soma suggested that γ-secretase cleavage occurs in neurites. Indeed, APP-CTF was, in line with Aβ42 in our previous study, enriched in the presynapse but absent from the postsynapse. In contrast, full-length AβPP was not detected in either the pre- or the postsynaptic side of the synapse. Furthermore, we observed that endogenously produced and endocytosed Aβ42 were localized in different compartments. These findings provide critical super-resolved insight into amyloidogenic AβPP processing in primary neurons.