Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
In molecular neurobiology, perhaps no molecule has been as thoroughly examined as Alzheimer's beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP). In the years since the cDNA encoding beta-APP was cloned, the protein has been the subject of unparalleled scrutiny on all levels. From molecular genetics and cellular biology to neuroanatomy and epidemiology, no scientific discipline has been left unexplored - and with good reason. beta-amyloid (Abeta) is the main constituent of the amyloidogenic plaques which are a primary pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and bta-APP is the protein from which Abeta is cleaved and released. Unraveling the molecular events underlying Abeta generation has been, and remains, of paramount importance to scientists in our field. In this review we will trace the progress that has been made in understanding the molecular and cellular basis of beta-APP trafficking and processing, or alternatively stated, the molecular basis for Abeta generation. Imperative to a complete understanding of Abeta generation is the delineation of its subcellular localization and the identification of proteins that play either direct or accessory roles in Abeta generation. We will focus on the regulation of beta-APP cleavage through diverse signal transduction mechanisms and discuss possible points of therapeutic intercession in what has been postulated to be a seminal molecular step in the cascade of events terminating in the onset of dementia, loss of neurons, and eventual death from Alzheimer's disease.