Mutagenesis identifies new signals for beta-amyloid precursor protein endocytosis, turnover, and the generation of secreted fragments, including Abeta42.
It has long been assumed that the C-terminal motif, NPXY, is the internalization signal for beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and that the NPXY tyrosine (Tyr743 by APP751 numbering, Tyr682 in APP695) is required for APP endocytosis. To evaluate this tenet and to identify the specific amino acids subserving APP endocytosis, we mutated all tyrosines in the APP cytoplasmic domain and amino acids within the sequence GYENPTY (amino acids 737-743). Stable cell lines expressing these mutations were assessed for APP endocytosis, secretion, and turnover. Normal APP endocytosis was observed for cells expressing Y709A, G737A, and Y743A mutations. However, Y738A, N740A, and P741A or the double mutation of Y738A/P741A significantly impaired APP internalization to a level similar to that observed for cells lacking nearly the entire APP cytoplasmic domain (DeltaC), arguing that the dominant signal for APP endocytosis is the tetrapeptide YENP. Although not an APP internalization signal, Tyr743 regulates rapid APP turnover because half-life increased by 50% with the Y743A mutation alone. Secretion of the APP-derived proteolytic fragment, Abeta, was tightly correlated with APP internalization, such that Abeta secretion was unchanged for cells having normal APP endocytosis but significantly decreased for endocytosis-deficient cell lines. Remarkably, secretion of the Abeta42 isoform was also reduced in parallel with endocytosis from internalization-deficient cell lines, suggesting an important role for APP endocytosis in the secretion of this highly pathogenic Abeta species.