Direct visualization of the gamma secretase-generated carboxyl-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor protein: association with Fe65 and translocation to the nucleus


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Bradley T. Hyman, Department of Neurology/Alzheimer Unit, 114 16th Street (CAGN 2009), Charlestown, MA 02129, USA. E-mail:


Amyloid-β, the peptide that deposits as senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease, is derived from the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by a gamma secretase-mediated intramembranous cleavage. In addition to amyloid-β, this cleavage produces a carboxyl-terminal intracellular fragment which has an unknown function. The carboxyl-terminal domain of APP interacts in the cytoplasm with an adapter protein, Fe65. We demonstrate by laser scanning confocal microscopy that a gamma secretase generated APP carboxyl-terminal domain, tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP), translocates to the nucleus in a manner dependent upon stabilization by the adapter protein Fe65; APP which has been mutated to block interactions with Fe65 cannot be detected in the nucleus. The APP-CT domain continues to interact with Fe65 in the nucleus, as determined by both colocalization and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). Visualization of the APP-CT-Fe65 complex in the nucleus may serve as a readout for processes that modify gamma secretase release of APP-CT.