ApoE interacts with members of the LDL receptor family and one of the receptors for ApoE, Apoer2, also acts as a signalling receptor for reelin, a protein that is important in the developing brain but also enhances NMDA receptor activity and increases long-term potentiation (LTP) in the adult brain. ApoE4 was found to reduce surface expression of NMDA and AMPA receptors as well as Apoer2 receptors, thereby impairing glutamatergic neurotransmission. β-Amyloid peptide, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, suppresses LTP and the ability of reelin to counter the effects of β-amyloid peptide was almost completely abolished in mice expressing human ApoE4. The team are now trying to understand whether it is possible to build on their findings to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.