Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common age-related form of dementia, associated with deposition of intracellular neuronal tangles consisting primarily of hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau (p-tau) and extracellular plaques primarily comprising amyloid- β (Aβ) peptide. The p-tau tangle unit is a posttranslational modification of normal tau protein. Aβ is a neurotoxic peptide excised from the amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) by β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and the γ-secretase complex. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, single-stranded RNAs that modulate protein expression as part of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). We identified miR-298 as a repressor of APP, BACE1, and the two primary forms of Aβ (Aβ40 and Aβ42) in a primary human cell culture model. Further, we discovered a novel effect of miR-298 on posttranslational levels of two specific tau moieties. Notably, miR-298 significantly reduced levels of ~55 and 50 kDa forms of the tau protein without significant alterations of total tau or other forms. In vivo overexpression of human miR-298 resulted in nonsignificant reduction of APP, BACE1, and tau in mice. Moreover, we identified two miR-298 SNPs associated with higher cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) p-tau and lower CSF Aβ42 levels in a cohort of human AD patients. Finally, levels of miR-298 varied in postmortem human temporal lobe between AD patients and age-matched non-AD controls. Our results suggest that miR-298 may be a suitable target for AD therapy.
Chopra, N., Wang, R., Maloney, B. et al. MicroRNA-298 reduces levels of human amyloid-β precursor protein (APP), β-site APP-converting enzyme 1 (BACE1) and specific tau protein moieties. Mol Psychiatry 26, 5636–5657 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0610-2