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Presenilin-associated protein (PSAP) was originally identified as a mitochondrial proapoptotic protein. To further explore the apoptotic pathway that involves PSAP, our yeast two-hybrid screen revealed that PSAP interacts with a death receptor, DR6. DR6 is a relatively less common member of the death receptor family and has been shown to mediate the neurotoxicity of amyloid-β, mutant SOD1, and prion proteins and has also been implicated in the regulation of immune cell proliferation and differentiation. Our previous study showed that DR6 induces apoptosis via a unique mitochondria-dependent pathway different from the conventional death receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptotic pathways. Thus, the interaction of DR6 with PSAP established a direct molecular link between DR6 and mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. We investigated the possible role of PSAP in DR6-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, it was discovered that knockdown of PSAP strongly inhibited DR6-induced apoptosis. To further elucidate the mechanism by which PSAP mediates DR6-induced mitochondria-dependent apoptosis, our data demonstrated that knockdown of PSAP blocked DR6-induced Bax translocation and cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. Moreover, it was found that both PSAP and DR6 form complexes with Bax, but at different subcellular locations. The DR6-Bax complex was detected in the cytosolic fraction while the PSAP-Bax complex was detected in the mitochondrial fraction. The observation that knockdown of DR6 significantly reduced the amount of PSAP-Bax complex detected in mitochondria suggests a possibility that DR6-bound Bax is transferred to PSAP upon interaction with PSAP at the mitochondria, leading to cytochrome c release and eventually apoptosis.


Jingtian Zhang, Zhizhuang Joe Zhao, Xueqi Fu, Han Niu, Chen Hu, Yunzhou Dong, Mei-Zhen Cui, Fuqiang Zhang, Linlin Zeng, Xuemin Xu. Proapoptotic Mitochondrial Carrier Homolog Protein PSAP Mediates Death Receptor 6 Induced Apoptosis. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD. 2020;74(4):1097-1106

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PMID: 32144986

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