Susceptibility to cellular stress in PS1 mutant N2a cells is associated with mitochondrial defects and altered calcium homeostasis.

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Rojas-Charry, Liliana 
Calero-Martinez, Sergio  ORCID logo
Morganti, Claudia 
Morciano, Giampaolo 
Park, Kyungeun 

Presenilin 1 (PS1) mutations are the most common cause of familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). PS1 also plays a role in cellular processes such as calcium homeostasis and autophagy. We hypothesized that mutant presenilins increase cellular vulnerability to stress. We stably expressed human PS1, mutant PS1E280A and mutant PS1Δ9 in mouse neuroblastoma N2a cells. We examined early signs of stress in different conditions: endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, calcium overload, oxidative stress, and Aβ 1-42 oligomers toxicity. Additionally, we induced autophagy via serum starvation. PS1 mutations did not have an effect in ER stress but PS1E280A mutation affected autophagy. PS1 overexpression influenced calcium homeostasis and generated mitochondrial calcium overload modifying mitochondrial function. However, the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) was affected in PS1 mutants, being accelerated in PS1E280A and inhibited in PS1Δ9 cells. Altered autophagy in PS1E280A cells was neither modified by inhibition of γ-secretase, nor by ER calcium retention. MPTP opening was directly regulated by γ-secretase inhibitors independent on organelle calcium modulation, suggesting a novel direct role for PS1 and γ-secretase in mitochondrial stress. We identified intrinsic cellular vulnerability to stress in PS1 mutants associated simultaneously with both, autophagic and mitochondrial function, independent of Aβ pathology.

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Scientific reports
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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) (SFB877)
Telethon (GGP15219/B, GGP15219)
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung (Fritz Thyssen Foundation) (
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (RF1NS110048)
Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (Italian Association for Cancer Research) (IG-18624)