Mutations in the presenilin proteins (PS1 and PS2) are responsible for more than 70% of the cases of the familial form of Alzheimer's disease (FAD). The proteins are expressed in the cell at a low level, primarily in the endoplasmic reticulum and cis Golgi, where they have been proposed to play a role in protein processing. As protein glycosylation is a key post-translational event that occurs within the Golgi, we have investigated the effect of altered PS1 expression levels on the protein glycosylation pattern using the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line. In cells over-expressing either the wild type or mutant (M146L) PS1-FAD proteins, there was a decrease in the expression levels of protein-bound α2,3-linked sialic acid residues at the level of the cell membrane. This was particularly manifest as a significant decrease in the expression of the polysialic acid chain that is linked to the core oligosaccharide of the neural cell adhesion molecule in an α2,3 bond. These results suggest that the over-expression of either the wild type or mutant PS1 disturbs glycoprotein processing within the Golgi. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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