Akt signal transduction dysfunction in the 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

dc.check.embargoformatHard bound copy in Library onlyen
dc.check.entireThesisEntire Thesis Restricted
dc.check.reasonThis thesis is due for publication or the author is actively seeking to publish this materialen
dc.contributor.advisorO'Neill, Coraen
dc.contributor.authorCoakley, Meghan F.
dc.contributor.funderScience Foundation Irelanden
dc.description.abstractAlzheimer’s disease (AD) is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder, accounting for over 60% of all cases of dementia. The primary risk factor for AD is age, however several genetic and environmental factors are also involved. The pathological characteristics of AD include extracellular deposition of the beta-amyloid peptide (Aβ) and intraneuronal accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) made of aggregated paired helical filaments (PHFs) of the hyperphosphorylated tau protein, along with synaptic loss and neuronal death. There are numerous biochemical mechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis, however the reigning hypothesis points to toxic oligomeric Aβ species as the primary causative factor in a cascade of events leading to neuronal stress and dyshomeostasis that initiate abnormal regulation of tau. The insulin and IGF-1 receptors (IR, IGF-1R) are the primary activators of PI3- K/Akt through which they regulate cell growth, development, glucose metabolism, and learning and memory. Work in our lab and others shows increased Akt activity and phosphorylation of its downstream targets in AD brain, along with insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 signalling (IIS) dysfunction. This is supported by studies of AD models in vivo and in vitro. Our group and others hypothesise that Aβ activates Akt through IIS to initiate a negative feedback mechanism that desensitises neurons to insulin/IGF-1, and sustains activation of Akt. In this study the functions of endogenous Akt, IR, and the insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) were examined in relationship to Aβ and tau pathology in the 3xTg-AD mouse model, which contains three mutant human transgenes associated with familial AD or dementia. The 3xTg-AD mouse develops Aβ and tau pathology in a spatiotemporal manner that best recapitulates the progression of AD in human brain. Western blotting and immunofluorescent microscopy techniques were utilised in vivo and in vitro, to examine the relationship between IIS, Akt, and AD pathology. I first characterised in detail AD pathology in 3xTg-AD mice, where an age-related accumulation of intraneuronal Aβ and tau was observed in the hippocampal formation, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex, and at late stages (18 months), extracellular amyloid plaques and NFTs, primarily in the subiculum and the CA1 layer of the hippocampal formation. Increased activity of Akt, detected with antibody to phosphoSer473-Akt, was increased in 3xTg-AD mice compared to age-matched non-transgenic mice (non-Tg), and in direct correlation to the accumulation of Aβ and tau in neuronal somatodendritic compartments. Akt phosphorylates tau at residue Ser214 within a highly specific consensus sequence for Akt phosphorylation, and phosphoSer214-tau strongly decreases microtubule (MT) stabilisation by preventing tau-MT binding. PhosphoSer214-tau increased concomitantly with this in the same age-related and region-specific fashion. Polarisation of tau phosphorylation was observed, where PHF-1 (tauSer396/404) and phosphoSer214-tau both appeared early in 3xTg-AD mice in distinct neuronal compartments: PHF-1 in axons, and phosphoSer214-tau in neuronal soma and dendrites. At 18 months, phosphoSer214-tau strongly colocalised with NFTs positive for the PHF- 1 and AT8 (tauSer202/Thr205) phosphoepitopes. IR was decreased with age in 3xTg-AD brain and in comparison to age-matched non-Tg, and this was specific for brain regions containing Aβ, tau, and hyperactive Akt. IRS-1 was similarly decreased, and both proteins showed altered subcellular distribution. Phosphorylation of IRS-1Ser312 is a strong indicator of IIS dysfunction and insulin resistance, and was increased in 3xTg-AD mice with age and in relation to pathology. Of particular note was our observation that abberant IIS and Akt signalling in 3xTg-AD brain related to Aβ and tau pathology on a gross anatomical level, and specifically localised to the brain regions and circuitry of the perforant path. Finally, I conducted a preliminary study of the effects of synthetic Aβ oligomers on embryonic rat hippocampus neuronal cultures to support these results and those in the literature. Taken together, these novel findings provide evidence for IIS and Akt signal transduction dysfunction as the missing link between Aβ and tau pathogenesis, and contribute to the overall understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of AD.en
dc.description.sponsorshipScience Foundation Ireland (SFI Research Frontiers Programme)en
dc.description.statusNot peer revieweden
dc.description.versionAccepted Version
dc.identifier.citationCoakley, M. F. 2015. Akt signal transduction dysfunction in the 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.en
dc.publisherUniversity College Corken
dc.rights© 2014, Meghan F. Coakley.en
dc.subjectCell signallingen
dc.titleAkt signal transduction dysfunction in the 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's diseaseen
dc.typeDoctoral thesisen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD (Science)en
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