Members of the FE65 family of adaptor proteins, FE65, FE65L1, and FE65L2, bind the C-terminal region of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). Overexpression of FE65 and FE65L1 was previously reported to increase the levels of alpha-secretase-derived APP (APPs alpha). Increased beta-amyloid (A beta) generation was also observed in cells showing the FE65-dependent increase in APPs alpha. To understand the mechanism for the observed increase in both A beta and APPs alpha given that alpha-secretase cleavage of a single APP molecule precludes A beta generation, we examined the effects of FE65L1 overexpression on APP C-terminal fragments (APP CTFs). Our data show that FE65L1 potentiates gamma-secretase processing of APP CTFs, including the amyloidogenic CTF C99, accounting for the ability of FE65L1 to increase generation of APP C-terminal domain and A beta 40. The FE65L1 modulation of these processing events requires binding of FE65L1 to APP and APP CTFs and is not because of a direct effect on gamma-secretase activity, because Notch intracellular domain generation is not altered by FE65L1. Furthermore, enhanced APP CTF processing can be detected in early endosome vesicles but not in endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi membranes, suggesting that the effects of FE65L1 occur at or near the plasma membrane. Finally, although FE65L1 increases APP C-terminal domain production, it does not mediate the APP-dependent transcriptional activation observed with FE65.
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