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Overexpression of glutaminyl cyclase, the enzyme responsible for pyroglutamate A{beta} formation, induces behavioral deficits, and glutaminyl cyclase knock-out rescues the behavioral phenotype in 5XFAD mice.

Pyroglutamate-modified Aβ (AβpE3-42) peptides are gaining considerable attention as potential key players in the pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD) due to their abundance in AD brain, high aggregation propensity, stability, and cellular toxicity. Overexpressing AβpE3-42 induced a severe neuron loss and neurological phenotype in TBA2 mice. In vitro and in vivo experiments have recently proven that the enzyme glutaminyl cyclase (QC) catalyzes the formation of AβpE3-42. The aim of the present work was to analyze the role of QC in an AD mouse model with abundant AβpE3-42 formation. 5XFAD mice were crossed with transgenic mice expressing human QC (hQC) under the control of the Thy1 promoter. 5XFAD/hQC bigenic mice showed significant elevation in TBS, SDS, and formic acid-soluble AβpE3-42 peptides and aggregation in plaques. In 6-month-old 5XFAD/hQC mice, a significant motor and working memory impairment developed compared with 5XFAD. The contribution of endogenous QC was studied by generating 5XFAD/QC-KO mice (mouse QC knock-out). 5XFAD/QC-KO mice showed a significant rescue of the wild-type mice behavioral phenotype, demonstrating the important contribution of endogenous mouse QC and transgenic overexpressed QC. These data clearly demonstrate that QC is crucial for modulating AβpE3-42 levels in vivo and prove on a genetic base the concept that reduction of QC activity is a promising new therapeutic approach for AD.

Pubmed ID: 21148560


  • Jawhar S
  • Wirths O
  • Schilling S
  • Graubner S
  • Demuth HU
  • Bayer TA


The Journal of biological chemistry

Publication Data

February 11, 2011

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Aminoacyltransferases
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Phenotype
  • Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid