Sorting receptor SORLA - a trafficking path to avoid Alzheimer disease


  • T.E. Willnow
  • O.M. Andersen


  • Journal of Cell Science


  • J Cell Sci 126 (Pt 13): 2751-2760


  • Excessive proteolytic breakdown of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) to neurotoxic amyloid {beta} peptides (A{beta}) by secretases in the brain is a molecular cause of Alzheimer disease (AD). According to current concepts, the complex route whereby APP moves between the secretory compartment, the cell surface and endosomes to encounter the various secretases determines its processing fate. However, the molecular mechanisms that control the intracellular trafficking of APP in neurons and their contribution to AD remain poorly understood. Here, we describe the functional elucidation of a new sorting receptor SORLA that emerges as a central regulator of trafficking and processing of APP. SORLA interacts with distinct sets of cytosolic adaptors for anterograde and retrograde movement of APP between the trans-Golgi network and early endosomes, thereby restricting delivery of the precursor to endocytic compartments that favor amyloidogenic breakdown. Defects in SORLA and its interacting adaptors result in transport defects and enhanced amyloidogenic processing of APP, and represent important risk factors for AD in patients. As discussed here, these findings uncovered a unique regulatory pathway for the control of neuronal protein transport, and provide clues as to why defects in this pathway cause neurodegenerative disease.