Matching Items (4)

134045-Thumbnail Image.png

Elucidating the Effects of PRAS40 on Learning and Memory

Description

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is integral in regulating cell growth as it maintains a homeostatic balance of proteins by modulating their synthesis and degradation. In the brain, mTOR regulates protein-driven neuroplastic changes that modulate learning and memory. Nevertheless,

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is integral in regulating cell growth as it maintains a homeostatic balance of proteins by modulating their synthesis and degradation. In the brain, mTOR regulates protein-driven neuroplastic changes that modulate learning and memory. Nevertheless, upregulation of mTOR can cause detrimental effect in spatial memory and synaptic plasticity. The proline-rich Akt-substrate 40 kDa (PRAS40) is a key negative regulator of mTOR, as it binds mTOR and directly reduces its activity. To investigate the role of PRAS40 on learning and memory, we generated a transgenic mouse model in which we used the tetracycline-off system to regulate the expression of PRAS40 specifically in neurons of the hippocampus. After induction, we found that mice overexpressing PRAS40 performed better than control mice in the Morris Water Maze behavioral test. We further show that the improvement in memory was associated with a decrease in mTOR signaling, an increase in dendritic spines in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, and an increase in the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin necessary for learning and memory. This is the first evidence that shows that increasing PRAS40 in the mouse brain enhances learning and memory deficits.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-05

133936-Thumbnail Image.png

Role of S6K1 on structural and molecular changes in the brain of a mouse model of AD

Description

The aims of this project are: (i) to identify structural and molecular changes in the brains of 3xTg-AD mice and (ii) to determine whether decreasing S6K1 protects the brain from these changes. To achieve our goals, we decided to remove

The aims of this project are: (i) to identify structural and molecular changes in the brains of 3xTg-AD mice and (ii) to determine whether decreasing S6K1 protects the brain from these changes. To achieve our goals, we decided to remove one copy of the S6K1 gene in 3xTg-AD mice by breeding them with S6K1 knockout mice (S6K1+/-). In previous studies, we have seen that reducing S6K1 levels in 3xTg-AD mice improved spatial memory and synaptic plasticity which was associated with reduced A and tau pathology. Here, we used a multiparametric MRI to assess volumetric and blood flow changes in the brain of 20-month-old 3xTg-AD mice. We found that 3xTg-AD/S6K1+/- mice had higher blood flow and cortical volume compared to 3xTg-AD mice. However, we saw no significant differences between 3xTg-AD mice and NonTg mice. We further found A levels and plaque numbers were significantly lower in 3xTg-AD/S6K1+/- mice compared to 3xTg-AD mice. This reduction in plaques could account for the improvement in blood flow in 3xTg-AD/S6K1+/- mice. To try to understand the reason behind the increase in cortical volume in the 3xTg-AD/S6K1+/- when compared to the 3xTg-AD, we measured markers of synaptic density, PSD95, and synaptophysin. We found that PSD95 levels were not different between the four groups. However, synaptophysin levels were significantly lower in 3xTg-AD mice compared to NonTg levels and returned to baseline levels in 3xTg-AD mice lacking one copy of the S6K1 gene. This difference in synaptophysin could explain, at least in part, the difference in volume between the four groups analyzed. Overall, this represents the first evidence showing that reducing mTOR signaling improves blood flow and cortical volume in a mouse model of AD.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-05

128075-Thumbnail Image.png

Dyrk1 Inhibition Improves Alzheimer's Disease-Like Pathology

Description

There is an urgent need for the development of new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase-1A (Dyrk1a) is a protein kinase that phosphorylates the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau and thus represents a link

There is an urgent need for the development of new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase-1A (Dyrk1a) is a protein kinase that phosphorylates the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau and thus represents a link between two key proteins involved in AD pathogenesis. Furthermore, Dyrk1a is upregulated in postmortem human brains, and high levels of Dyrk1a are associated with mental retardation. Here, we sought to determine the effects of Dyrk1 inhibition on AD-like pathology developed by 3xTg-AD mice, a widely used animal model of AD. We dosed 10-month-old 3xTg-AD and nontransgenic (NonTg) mice with a Dyrk1 inhibitor (Dyrk1-inh) or vehicle for eight weeks. During the last three weeks of treatment, we tested the mice in a battery of behavioral tests. The brains were then analyzed for the pathological markers of AD. We found that chronic Dyrk1 inhibition reversed cognitive deficits in 3xTg-AD mice. These effects were associated with a reduction in amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau pathology. Mechanistically, Dyrk1 inhibition reduced APP and insoluble tau phosphorylation. The reduction in APP phosphorylation increased its turnover and decreased Aβ levels. These results suggest that targeting Dyrk1 could represent a new viable therapeutic approach for AD.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-06-19

128978-Thumbnail Image.png

Pim1 Inhibition as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Description

Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Clinically, AD is characterized by impairments of memory and cognitive functions. Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles are the prominent neuropathologies in patients with AD. Strong evidence indicates

Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Clinically, AD is characterized by impairments of memory and cognitive functions. Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles are the prominent neuropathologies in patients with AD. Strong evidence indicates that an imbalance between production and degradation of key proteins contributes to the pathogenesis of AD. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a key role in maintaining protein homeostasis as it regulates both protein synthesis and degradation. A key regulator of mTOR activity is the proline-rich AKT substrate 40 kDa (PRAS40), which directly binds to mTOR and reduces its activity. Notably, AD patients have elevated levels of phosphorylated PRAS40, which correlate with Aβ and tau pathologies as well as cognitive deficits. Physiologically, PRAS40 phosphorylation is regulated by Pim1, a protein kinase of the protoconcogene family. Here, we tested the effects of a selective Pim1 inhibitor (Pim1i), on spatial reference and working memory and AD-like pathology in 3xTg-AD mice.

Results: We have identified a Pim1i that crosses the blood brain barrier and reduces PRAS40 phosphorylation. Pim1i-treated 3xTg-AD mice performed significantly better than their vehicle treated counterparts as well as non-transgenic mice. Additionally, 3xTg-AD Pim1i-treated mice showed a reduction in soluble and insoluble Aβ40 and Aβ42 levels, as well as a 45.2 % reduction in Aβ42 plaques within the hippocampus. Furthermore, phosphorylated tau immunoreactivity was reduced in the hippocampus of Pim1i–treated 3xTg-AD mice by 38 %. Mechanistically, these changes were linked to a significant increase in proteasome activity.

Conclusion: These results suggest that reductions in phosphorylated PRAS40 levels via Pim1 inhibition reduce Aβ and Tau pathology and rescue cognitive deficits by increasing proteasome function. Given that Pim1 inhibitors are already being tested in ongoing human clinical trials for cancer, the results presented here may open a new venue of drug discovery for AD by developing more Pim1 inhibitors.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-07-02