Inhibition of the MID1 protein complex: a novel approach targeting APP protein synthesis.
- Proteomics of cellular signaling
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by two neuropathological hallmarks: senile plaques, which are composed of amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides, and neurofibrillary tangles, which are composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Abeta peptides are derived from sequential proteolytic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). In this study, we identified a so far unknown mode of regulation of APP protein synthesis involving the MID1 protein complex: MID1 binds to and regulates the translation of APP mRNA. The underlying mode of action of MID1 involves the mTOR pathway. Thus, inhibition of the MID1 complex reduces the APP protein level in cultures of primary neurons. Based on this, we used one compound that we discovered previously to interfere with the MID1 complex, metformin, for in vivo experiments. Indeed, long-term treatment with metformin decreased APP protein expression levels and consequently Abeta in an AD mouse model. Importantly, we have initiated the metformin treatment late in life, at a time-point where mice were in an already progressed state of the disease, and could observe an improved behavioral phenotype. These findings together with our previous observation, showing that inhibition of the MID1 complex by metformin also decreases tau phosphorylation, make the MID1 complex a particularly interesting drug target for treating AD.