APP Processing Induced by Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) Yields Several APP Fragments in Human and Rat Neuronal Cells

Giovanna De Chiara, Maria Elena Marcocci, Livia Civitelli, Rafaela Argnani, Roberto Piacentini, Cristian Ripoli, Roberto Manservigi, Claudio Grassi, Enrico Garaci, Anna Teresa Palamara

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91 Citazioni (Scopus)


Lifelong latent infections of the trigeminal ganglion by the neurotropic herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) are characterized by periodic reactivation. During these episodes, newly produced virions may also reach the central nervous system (CNS), causing productive but generally asymptomatic infections. Epidemiological and experimental findings suggest that HSV-1 might contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This multifactorial neurodegenerative disorder is related to an overproduction of amyloid beta (A beta) and other neurotoxic peptides, which occurs during amyloidogenic endoproteolytic processing of the transmembrane amyloid precursor protein (APP). The aim of our study was to identify the effects of productive HSV-1 infection on APP processing in neuronal cells. We found that infection of SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells and rat cortical neurons is followed by multiple cleavages of APP, which result in the intra-and/or extra-cellular accumulation of various neurotoxic species. These include: i) APP fragments (APP-Fs) of 35 and 45 kDa (APP-F35 and APP-F45) that comprise portions of Ab; ii) N-terminal APP-Fs that are secreted; iii) intracellular C-terminal APP-Fs; and iv) A beta(1-40) and A beta(1-42). Western blot analysis of infected-cell lysates treated with formic acid suggests that APP-F35 may be an Ab oligomer. The multiple cleavages of APP that occur in infected cells are produced in part by known components of the amyloidogenic APP processing pathway, i.e., host-cell beta-secretase, gamma-secretase, and caspase-3-like enzymes. These findings demonstrate that HSV-1 infection of neuronal cells can generate multiple APP fragments with well-documented neurotoxic potentials. It is tempting to speculate that intra-and extracellular accumulation of these species in the CNS resulting from repeated HSV-1 reactivation could, in the presence of other risk factors, play a co-factorial role in the development of AD
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)e13989-e13989
Numero di pagine14
RivistaPLoS One
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2010


  • Amyloid precursor protein
  • Herpes Simplex type 1
  • amyloid beta protein


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