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Inhibiting USP16 rescues stem cell aging and memory in an Alzheimer's model

By Felicia Reinitz, Elizabeth Chen, Benedetta Nicolis di Robilant, Bayarsaikhan Chuluun, Jane Antony, Robert C. Jones, Neha Gubbi, Sai Saroja Kolluru, Dalong Qian, Katja Piltti, Aileen Anderson, Michael Clarke, H. Craig Heller, Stephen Quake

Posted 22 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.21.383059

Alzheimers disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease observed with aging that represents the most common form of dementia. To date, therapies targeting end-stage disease plaques, tangles, or inflammation have limited efficacy. Therefore, we set out to identify an earlier targetable phenotype. Utilizing a mouse model of AD and human fetal cells harboring mutant amyloid precursor protein, we show cell intrinsic neural precursor cell (NPC) dysfunction precedes widespread inflammation and amyloid plaque pathology, making it the earliest defect in the evolution of disease. We demonstrate that reversing impaired NPC self-renewal via genetic reduction of USP16, a histone modifier and critical physiological antagonist of the Polycomb Repressor Complex 1, can prevent downstream cognitive defects and decrease astrogliosis in vivo. Reduction of USP16 led to decreased expression of senescence gene Cdkn2a and mitigated aberrant regulation of the BMP pathway, a previously unknown function of USP16. Thus, we reveal USP16 as a novel target in an AD model that can both ameliorate the NPC defect and rescue memory and learning through its regulation of both Cdkn2a and BMP signaling. Graphical Abstract O_FIG_DISPLAY_L [Figure 1] M_FIG_DISPLAY C_FIG_DISPLAY Schematic summarizing therapeutic approaches to mitigate the effects of mutant APP through targeting of Cdkn2a, BMI1, USP16 and BMP.

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