Alzheimer's disease-related dysregulation of mRNA translation causes key pathological features with ageing

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by Aβ and tau pathology as well as synaptic degeneration, which correlates best with cognitive impairment. Previous work suggested that this pathological complexity may result from changes in mRNA translation. Here, we studied whether mRNA translation and its underlying signalling are altered in an early model of AD, and whether modelling this deficiency in mice causes pathological features with ageing. Using an unbiased screen, we show that exposure of primary neurons to nanomolar amounts of Aβ increases FMRP-regulated protein synthesis. This selective regulation of mRNA translation is dependent on a signalling cascade involving MAPK-interacting kinase 1 (Mnk1) and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E), and ultimately results in reduction of CYFIP2, an FMRP-binding protein. Modelling this CYFIP2 reduction in mice, we find age-dependent Aβ accumulation in the thalamus, development of tau pathology in entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, as well as gliosis and synapse loss in the hippocampus, together with deficits in memory formation. Therefore, we conclude that early stages of AD involve increased translation of specific CYFIP2/FMRP-regulated transcripts. Since reducing endogenous CYFIP2 expression is sufficient to cause key features of AD with ageing in mice, we suggest that prolonged activation of this pathway is a primary step toward AD pathology, highlighting a novel direction for therapeutic targeting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020

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