, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 21-43

Cofilin-mediated neurodegeneration in alzheimer’s disease and other amyloidopathies

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Abstract

Transport defects may arise in various neurodegenerative diseases from failures in molecular motors, microtubule abnormalities, and the chaperone/proteasomal degradation pathway leading to aggresomal-lysosomal accumulations. These defects represent important steps in the neurodegenerative cascade, although in many cases, a clear consensus has yet to be reached regarding their causal relationship to the disease. A growing body of evidence lends support to a link between neurite transport defects in the very early stages of many neurodegenerative diseases and alterations in the organization and dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton initiated by filament dynamizing proteins in the ADF/cofilin family. This article focuses on cofilin, which in neurons under stress, including stress induced by the amyloid-β (Aβ) 1–42 peptide, undergoes dephosphorylation (activation) and forms rod-shaped actin boundles (rods). Rods inhibit transport, are sites of amyloid precursor protein accumulation, and contribute to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Because rods form rapidly in response to anoxia, they could also contribute to synaptic deficits associated with ischemic brain injury (e.g., stroke). Surprisingly, cofilin undergoes phosphorylation (inactivation) in hippocampal neurons treated with Aβ1–40 at high concentrations, and these neurons undergo dystrophic morphological changes, including accumulation of pretangle phosphorylated-τ. Therefore, extremes in phosphoregulation of cofilin by different forms of Aβ may explain much of the Alzheimer’s disease pathology and provide mechanisms for synaptic loss and plaque expansion.

An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-007-8011-y.