Dysfunctional tubular endoplasmic reticulum constitutes a pathological feature of Alzheimer's disease
Pathological features in Alzheimer's brains include mitochondrial dysfunction and dystrophic neurites (DNs) in areas surrounding amyloid plaques. Using a mouse model that overexpresses reticulon 3 (RTN3) and spontaneously develops age-dependent hippocampal DNs, here we report that DNs contain both RTN3 and REEPs, topologically similar proteins that can shape tubular endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Importantly, ultrastructural examinations of such DNs revealed gradual accumulation of tubular ER in axonal termini, and such abnormal tubular ER inclusion is found in areas surrounding amyloid plaques in biopsy samples from Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. Functionally, abnormally clustered tubular ER induces enhanced mitochondrial fission in the early stages of DN formation and eventual mitochondrial degeneration at later stages. Furthermore, such DNs are abrogated when RTN3 is ablated in aging and AD mouse models. Hence, abnormally clustered tubular ER can be pathogenic in brain regions: disrupting mitochondrial integrity, inducing DNs formation and impairing cognitive function in AD and aging brains.
Sharoar MG, Shi Q, Ge Y, He W, Hu X, Perry G, Zhu X, Yan R. Dysfunctional tubular endoplasmic reticulum constitutes a pathological feature of Alzheimer's disease. Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Sep;21(9):1263-71. doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.181. Epub 2015 Dec 1. PMID: 26619807; PMCID: PMC4887420.