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Loss of Bace2 in zebrafish affects melanocyte migration and is distinct from Bace1 knock out phenotypes

J Neurochem. 2013 Feb 14. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12198. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: van Bebber F, Hruscha A, Willem M, Schmid B, Haass C.
Publication Date: 2013

VAN-BEBBER-j-neurochemistry-2013

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease is the most frequent dementia. Pathologically, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the accumulation of senile plaques composed of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ). Two proteases, β- and γ-secretase proteolytically generate Aβ from its precursor, the ß-amyloid precursor protein (APP). Inhibition of β-secretase, also referred to as beta-site APP cleaving enzyme (BACE1) or γ-secretase is therefore of prime interest for the development of amyloid-lowering drugs. To assess the in vivo function of zebrafish Bace1 (zBace1), we generated zBace1 knock out fish by zinc finger nuclease-mediated genome editing. bace1 mutants (bace1-/-) are hypomyelinated in the PNS while the CNS is not affected. Moreover, the number of mechanosensory neuromasts is elevated in bace1-/-. Mutations in zebrafish Bace2 (zBace2) revealed a distinct melanocyte migration phenotype, which is not observed in bace1-/-. Double homozygous bace1-/-; bace2-/- fish do not enhance the single mutant phenotypes indicating non-redundant distinct physiological functions. Single homozygous bace1 mutants as well as double homozygous bace1 and bace2 mutants are viable and fertile suggesting that Bace1 is a promising drug target without major side effects. The identification of a specific bace2 -/- associated phenotype further allows improving selective Bace1 inhibitors and to distinguish between Bace 1 and Bace 2 inhibition in vivo.

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