The amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP can undergo two exclusive proteolytic pathways: cleavage by the α-secretase initiates the non-amyloidogenic pathway while cleavage by the β-secretase initiates the amyloidogenic pathway that leads, after a second cleavage by the γ-secretase, to amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides that can form toxic extracellular deposits, a hallmark of AD. The initial events leading to AD are still unknown. Importantly, aside from Aβ toxicity whose molecular mechanisms remain elusive, several studies have shown that APP plays a positive role in memory, raising the possibility that APP loss-of-function may participate to AD. We previously showed that APPL, the Drosophila APP ortholog, is required for associative memory in young flies. In the present report, we provide the first analysis of the amyloidogenic pathway's influence on memory in the adult. We show that transient overexpression of the β-secretase in the mushroom bodies, the center for olfactory memory, did not alter memory. In sharp contrast, β-secretase overexpression affected memory when associated with APPL partial loss-of-function. Interestingly, similar results were observed with Drosophila Aβ peptide. Because Aβ overexpression impaired memory only when combined to APPL partial loss-of-function, the data suggest that Aβ affects memory through the APPL pathway. Thus, memory is altered by two connected mechanisms-APPL loss-of-function and amyloid peptide toxicity-revealing in Drosophila a functional interaction between APPL and amyloid peptide.
Bourdet, I., Lampin-Saint-Amaux, A., Preat, T., Goguel, V., & Iijima, K. M. (2015). Amyloid-β peptide exacerbates the memory deficit caused by amyloid precursor protein loss-of-function in Drosophila. PLoS ONE, 10(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135741