January 16, 2021

Nutrient signaling pathways regulate amyloid clearance and synaptic loss in Alzheimer’s disease

Extra-cellular accumulation of Amyloid-{beta} (A{beta}) plaques is causatively associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, mechanisms that mediate the pre-pathological state of amyloid plaque formation remain elusive. Here, using paired RNAi and kinase inhibitor screens, we discovered that AKT-mediated insulin/nutrient signaling suppresses lysosomal clearance of A{beta} and promotes amyloid formation. This mechanism is cell-autonomous and functions in multiple systems, including iPSC-derived human neurons and in vivo. Nutrient signaling regulates amyloid formation via distinct lysosomal functional mechanisms, while enhanced amino acid signaling promotes amyloid formation by transcriptionally suppressing lysosome biogenesis, and high intracellular cholesterol levels suppress lysosomal clearance of amyloid by increasing the number of non-functional lysosomes. The nutrient signaling pathway, present in both neurons and microglia, regulates lysosomal clearance of amyloid and microglia mediated synapse loss, both in vitro and in vivo. Clinically, older hyperlipidemic patients showed less synapse loss through microglia and performed better in cognitive tests. Thus, our results reveal a bi-partite cellular quality control system regulated by the insulin-nutrient signaling that in neurons regulates A{beta} peptide clearance and in microglia regulates synaptic loss, both processes causally associated with AD. Our results also caution against reducing amyloid through such processes as this might also result in synapse loss.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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