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Fossgreen, A., Bruckner, B., Czech, C., Masters, C.L., Beyreuther, K., Paro, R. (1998). Transgenic Drosophila expressing human amyloid precursor protein show gamma-secretase activity and a blistered-wing phenotype.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 95(23): 13703--13708.
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Research paper

The importance of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) became apparent through the identification of distinct mutations in the APP gene, causing early onset familial AD with the accumulation of a 4-kDa peptide fragment (betaA4) in amyloid plaques and vascular deposits. However, the physiological role of APP is still unclear. In this work, Drosophila melanogaster is used as a model system to analyze the function of APP by expressing wild-type and various mutant forms of human APP in fly tissue culture cells as well as in transgenic fly lines. After expression of full-length APP forms, secretion of APP but not of betaA4 was observed in both systems. By using SPA4CT, a short APP form in which the signal peptide was fused directly to the betaA4 region, transmembrane domain, and cytoplasmic tail, we observed betaA4 release in flies and fly-tissue culture cells. Consequently, we showed a gamma-secretase activity in flies. Interestingly, transgenic flies expressing full-length forms of APP have a blistered-wing phenotype. As the wing is composed of interacting dorsal and ventral epithelial cell layers, this phenotype suggests that human APP expression interferes with cell adhesion/signaling pathways in Drosophila, independently of betaA4 generation.

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PMC24883 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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