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Paper Chase

Presenilins regulate calcium homeostasis and presynaptic function via ryanodine receptors in hippocampal neurons.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. Sep 10, 2013;110(37):15091-6.
Wu B, Yamaguchi H, Lai FA, Shen J.

Center for Neurologic Diseases, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


Presenilin (PS) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, and loss of PS causes progressive memory impairment and age-related neurodegeneration in the mouse cerebral cortex. In hippocampal neurons, PS is essential for neurotransmitter release, NMDA receptor-mediated responses, and long-term potentiation. PS is also involved in the regulation of calcium homeostasis, although the precise site of its action is less clear. Here we investigate the mechanism by which PS regulates synaptic function and calcium homeostasis using acute hippocampal slices from PS conditional knockout mice and primary cultured postnatal hippocampal neurons, in which PS is inducibly inactivated. Using two different calcium probes, Fura-2 and Mag-Fura-2, we found that inactivation of PS in primary hippocampal neurons does not affect calcium concentration in the endoplasmic reticulum. Rather, in the absence of PS, levels of ryanodine receptor (RyR) are reduced in the hippocampus, measured by Western analysis and radioligand binding assay, although the mRNA expression is unaffected. RyR-mediated function is also impaired, as indicated by reduced RyR agonist-induced calcium release from the ER and RyR-mediated synaptic responses in the absence of PS. Furthermore, knockdown of RyR expression in wild-type hippocampal neurons by two independent shRNAs to levels comparable with the RyR protein reduction in PS-deficient hippocampal neurons mimics the defects exhibited in calcium homeostasis and presynaptic function. Collectively, our findings show that PS regulates calcium homeostasis and synaptic function via RyR and suggest that disruption of intracellular calcium homeostasis may be an early pathogenic event leading to presynaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.