Aggregates of RNA Binding Proteins and ER Chaperones Linked to Exosomes in Granulovacuolar Degeneration of the Alzheimer's Disease Brain

Alfred Yamoah, Priyanka Tripathi, Antonio Sechi, Christoph Köhler, Haihong Guo, Akila Chandrasekar, Kay Wilhelm Nolte, Christoph Jan Wruck, Istvan Katona, Jasper Anink, Dirk Troost, Eleonora Aronica, Harry Steinbusch, Joachim Weis, Anand Goswami


Granulovacuolar degeneration (GVD) occurs in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain due to compromised autophagy. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function and RNA binding protein (RBP) homeostasis regulate autophagy. We observed that the ER chaperones Glucose - regulated protein, 78 KDa (GRP78/BiP), Sigma receptor 1 (SigR1), and Vesicle-associated membrane protein associated protein B (VAPB) were elevated in many AD patients' subicular neurons. However, those neurons which were affected by GVD showed lower chaperone levels, and there was only minor co-localization of chaperones with GVD bodies (GVBs), suggesting that neurons lacking sufficient chaperone-mediated proteostasis enter the GVD pathway. Consistent with this notion, granular, incipient pTau aggregates in human AD and pR5 tau transgenic mouse neurons were regularly co-localized with increased chaperone immunoreactivity, whereas neurons with mature neurofibrillary tangles lacked both the chaperone buildup and significant GVD. On the other hand, APP/PS1 (APPswe/PSEN1dE9) transgenic mouse hippocampal neurons that are devoid of pTau accumulation displayed only few GVBs-like vesicles, which were still accompanied by prominent chaperone buildup. Identifying a potential trigger for GVD, we found cytoplasmic accumulations of RBPs including Matrin 3 and FUS as well as stress granules in GVBs of AD patient and pR5 mouse neurons. Interestingly, we observed that GVBs containing aggregated pTau and pTDP-43 were consistently co-localized with the exosomal marker Flotillin 1 in both AD and pR5 mice. In contrast, intraneuronal 82E1-immunoreactive amyloid-β in human AD and APP/PS1 mice only rarely co-localized with Flotillin 1-positive exosomal vesicles. We conclude that altered chaperone-mediated ER protein homeostasis and impaired autophagy manifesting in GVD are linked to both pTau and RBP accumulation and that some GVBs might be targeted to exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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