Inhibition of human high-affinity copper importer Ctr1 orthologous in the nervous system of Drosophila ameliorates Aβ42-induced Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Medical Sciences/Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health
Disruption of copper homeostasis has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) during the last 2 decades; however, whether copper is a friend or a foe is controversial. Within a genetically tractable Drosophila AD model, we manipulated the expression of human high-affinity copper importer orthologous in Drosophila to explore the invivo roles of copper ions in the development of AD. We found that inhibition of Ctr1C expression by RNAi in Aβ-expressing flies significantly reduced copper accumulation in the brains of the flies as well as ameliorating neurodegeneration, enhancing climbing ability, and prolonging lifespan. Interestingly, Ctr1C inhibition led to a significant increase in higher-molecular-weight Aβ42 forms in brain lysates, whereas it was accompanied by a trend of decreased expression of amyloid-β degradation proteases (including NEP1-3 and IDE) with age and reduced Cu-Aβ interaction-induced oxidative stress in Ctr1C RNAi flies. Similar results were obtained from inhibiting another copper importer Ctr1B and overexpressing a copper exporter DmATP7 in the nervous system of AD flies. These results imply that copper may play a causative role in developing AD, as either Aβ oligomers or aggregates were less toxic in a reduced copper environment or one with less copper binding. Early manipulation of brain copper uptake can have a great effect on Aβ pathology.