It was not until the discovery of the gene encoding the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the late eighties that scientists became able to develop in vitro model systems to study Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since then, few other proteins have attracted as much scientific attention as the ‘Alzheimer’s disease proteins’. APP and the presenilins play key roles in the early pathogenesis of the disease. APP is the precursor protein of the amyloid peptides that precipitate in the amyloid plaques. The presenilins on the other hand are closely associated with (if not identical to) γ-secretase, the enzyme responsible for the final release of amyloid peptides. The hypothesis that merely a subtle change in this proteolytic step leads to such a dramatic disease forced scientists to focus on this molecular process. To analyze the intracellular mechanisms that are at the basis of aberrant amyloid production, it is important to develop appropriate cellular models that mimic the in vivo situation. This chapter will focus on the importance and relevance of specific neuronal cell systems to study the cell biology of AD-linked proteins.
Annaert, W., & De Strooper, B. (2000, July 26). Neuronal models to study amyloid precursor protein expression and processing in vitro. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-4439(00)00032-6