APL-1, the Alzheimer’s Amyloid Precursor Protein in Caenorhabditis elegans, Modulates Multiple Metabolic Pathways Throughout Development
Collin Y. Ewald, Daniel A. Raps, Chris Li


Mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene or in genes that process APP are correlated with familial Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The biological function of APP remains unclear. APP is a transmembrane protein that can be sequentially cleaved by different secretases to yield multiple fragments, which can potentially act as signaling molecules. Caenorhabditis elegans encodes one APP-related protein, APL-1, which is essential for viability. Here, we show that APL-1 signaling is dependent on the activity of the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 and the nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12 and influences metabolic pathways such as developmental progression, body size, and egg-laying rate. Furthermore, apl-1(yn5) mutants, which produce high levels of the extracellular APL-1 fragment, show an incompletely penetrant temperature-sensitive embryonic lethality. In a genetic screen to isolate mutants in which the apl-1(yn5) lethality rate is modified, we identified a suppressor mutation in MOA-1/R155.2, a receptor-protein tyrosine phosphatase, and an enhancer mutation in MOA-2/B0495.6, a protein involved in receptor-mediated endocytosis. Knockdown of apl-1 in an apl-1(yn5) background caused lethality and molting defects at all larval stages, suggesting that apl-1 is required for each transitional molt. We suggest that signaling of the released APL-1 fragment modulates multiple metabolic states and that APL-1 is required throughout development.

  • Received January 18, 2012.
  • Accepted March 24, 2012.
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