APP-BP1, first identified as an amyloid precursor protein (APP) binding protein, is the regulatory subunit of the activating enzyme for the small ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8. We have shown that APP-BP1 drives the S- to M-phase transition in dividing cells, and causes apoptosis in neurons. We now demonstrate that APP-BP1 binds to the COOH-terminal 31 amino acids of APP (C31) and colocalizes with APP in a lipid-enriched fraction called lipid rafts. We show that coexpression of a peptide representing the domain of APP-BP1 that binds to APP, abolishes the ability of overexpressed APP or the V642I mutant of APP to cause neuronal apoptosis and DNA synthesis. A dominant negative mutant of the NEDD8 conjugating enzyme hUbc12, which participates in the ubiquitin-like pathway initiated by APP-BP1, blocks neuronal apoptosis caused by APP, APP(V642I), C31, or overexpression of APP-BP1. Neurons overexpressing APP or APP(V642I) show increased APP-BP1 protein levels in lipid rafts. A similar increase in APP-BP1 in lipid rafts is observed in the Alzheimer's disease brain hippocampus, but not in less-affected areas of Alzheimer's disease brain. This translocation of APP-BP1 to lipid rafts is accompanied by a change in the subcellular localization of the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8, which is activated by APP-BP1.
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