Production of the Alzheimer amyloid β protein by normal proteolytic processing
The 4-kilodalton (39 to 43 amino acids) amyloid beta protein (beta AP), which is deposited as amyloid in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's diseases, is derived from a large protein, the amyloid beta protein precursor (beta APP). Human mononuclear leukemic (K562) cells expressing a beta AP-bearing, carboxyl-terminal beta APP derivative released significant amounts of a soluble 4-kilodalton beta APP derivative essentially identical to the beta AP deposited in Alzheimer's disease. Human neuroblastoma (M17) cells transfected with constructs expressing full-length beta APP and M17 cells expressing only endogenous beta APP also released soluble 4-kilodalton beta AP, and a similar, if not identical, fragment was readily detected in cerebrospinal fluid from individuals with Alzheimer's disease and normal individuals. Thus cells normally produce and release soluble 4-kilodalton beta AP that is essentially identical to the 4-kilodalton beta AP deposited as insoluble amyloid fibrils in Alzheimer's disease.