Calcium dysregulation is a key pathological event in Alzheimer's disease (AD). In studying approaches to mitigate this calcium overload, we identified the collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2), an axonal guidance protein that participates in synapse dynamics by interacting with and regulating activity of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). We further identified a 15 amino acid peptide from CRMP2 (designated CBD3, for calcium-binding domain 3), that reduced NMDAR-mediated Ca2+ influx in cultured neurons and post-synaptic NMDAR-mediated currents in cortical slices. Whether targeting CRMP2 could be therapeutically beneficial in AD is unknown. Here, using CBD3, we tested the utility of this approach. Employing the APP/PS1 mouse model of AD which demonstrates robust pathophysiology including Aβ1-42 deposition, altered tau levels, and diminished cognitive functions, we asked if overexpression of CBD3 could rescue these events. CBD3 was engineered into an adeno-associated vector and nasally delivered into APP/PS1 mice and then biochemical (immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting), cellular (TUNEL apoptosis assays), and behavioral (Morris water maze test) assessments were performed. APP/PS1 mice administered adeno-associated virus (AAV, serotype 2) harboring CBD3 demonstrated: (i) reduced levels of Aβ1-42 and phosphorylated-tau (a marker of AD progression), (ii) reduced apoptosis in the hippocampus, and (iii) reduced cognitive decline compared with APP/PS1 mice or APP/PS1 administered a control virus. These results provide an instructive example of utilizing a peptide-based approach to unravel protein-protein interactions that are necessary for AD pathology and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of CRMP2 as a novel protein player in AD.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Amyloid beta
- APP/PS1 mice
- Calcium channel-binding domain 3
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience