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Na, K-ATPase α3 is a death target of Alzheimer patient amyloid-β assembly


Neurodegeneration correlates with Alzheimer's disease (AD) symptoms, but the molecular identities of pathogenic amyloid β-protein (Aβ) oligomers and their targets, leading to neurodegeneration, remain unclear. Amylospheroids (ASPD) are AD patient-derived 10- to 15-nm spherical Aβ oligomers that cause selective degeneration of mature neurons. Here, we show that the ASPD target is neuron-specific Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase α3 subunit (NAKα3). ASPD-binding to NAKα3 impaired NAKα3-specific activity, activated N-type voltage-gated calcium channels, and caused mitochondrial calcium dyshomeostasis, tau abnormalities, and neurodegeneration. NMR and molecular modeling studies suggested that spherical ASPD contain N-terminal-Aβ-derived "thorns" responsible for target binding, which are distinct from low molecular-weight oligomers and dodecamers. The fourth extracellular loop (Ex4) region of NAKα3 encompassing Asn(879) and Trp(880) is essential for ASPD-NAKα3 interaction, because tetrapeptides mimicking this Ex4 region bound to the ASPD surface and blocked ASPD neurotoxicity. Our findings open up new possibilities for knowledge-based design of peptidomimetics that inhibit neurodegeneration in AD by blocking aberrant ASPD-NAKα3 interaction.

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