Molecular chaperones protect cells from the deleterious effects of protein misfolding and aggregation. Neurotoxicity of amyloid-beta (Aβ) aggregates and their deposition in senile plaques are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We observed that the overall content of αB-crystallin, a small heat shock protein molecular chaperone, decreased in AD model mice in an age-dependent manner. We hypothesized that αB-crystallin protects cells against Aβ toxicity. To test this, we crossed αB-crystallin/HspB2 deficient (CRYAB-/-HSPB2-/-) mice with AD model transgenic mice expressing mutant human amyloid precursor protein. Transgenic and non-transgenic mice in chaperone-sufficient or deficient backgrounds were examined for representative behavioral paradigms for locomotion and memory network functions: (i) spatial orientation and locomotion was monitored by open field test; (ii) sequential organization and associative learning was monitored by fear conditioning; and (iii) evoked behavioral response was tested by hot plate method. Interestingly, αB-crystallin/HspB2 deficient transgenic mice were severely impaired in locomotion compared to each genetic model separately. Our results highlight a synergistic effect of combining chaperone deficiency in a transgenic mouse model for AD underscoring an important role for chaperones in protein misfolding diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)