ARP, the cleavable C-terminal peptide of “readthrough” acetylcholinesterase, promotes neuronal development and plasticity

The mammalian acetylcholinesterase (ACHE) gene gives rise to diverse enzymatically active proteins with three different carboxyl termini. In the brain, the normally rare readthrough AChE-R monomer accumulates under embryonic development and in adults following psychological stress, head injury, or exposure to AChEs. In the prenatal developing cortex, its unique C-terminal peptide ARP associates with radial glial fibers supporting neuronal migration. In contrast, the major synaptic AChE-S variant appears in the migrating neurons themselves. Moreover, antisense suppression of AChE-R attenuates neuronal migration, allowing increased proliferation of neuronal progenitors. In the adult brain, neuronal AChE-R is either secreted or accumulates intraneuronally, where it interacts through ARP with the scaffold protein RACK1 and activated PKC-betaII. This associates with increased PKC-betaII activity, which shuttles to submembranal clusters (e.g., in hyperactivated hippocampal neurons). Cleavage yields the AChE-R-specific C-terminal peptide, including immunopositive ARP. Importantly, intrahippocampal injection of synthetic ARP was followed by its efficient neuronal penetration and retrograde transport into cortical and basal nuclei neurons. Moreover, ARP-injected mice presented increased stress-induced contextual fear, inhibitable by antisense suppression of AChE-R mRNA. Together, our findings point at the cleavable ARP peptide as a key regulator of neuronal development and plasticity and suggest its use as a drug target and/or research and therapeutic tool.

Authors: Dori A, Soreq H.
Year of publication: 2006
Journal: J Mol Neurosci. 2006;28(3):247-55.

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