Rare coding variants in the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) are associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), but how they confer this risk remains uncertain. We assessed binding of TREM2, AD-associated TREM2 variants to various forms of Aβ and APOE in multiple assays. TREM2 interacts directly with various forms of Aβ, with highest affinity interactions observed between TREM2 and soluble Aβ42 oligomers. High-affinity binding of TREM2 to Aβ oligomers is characterized by very slow dissociation. Pre-incubation with Aβ is shown to block the interaction of APOE. In cellular assays, AD-associated variants of TREM2 reduced the amount of Aβ42 internalized, and in NFAT assay, the R47H and R62H variants decreased NFAT signaling activity in response to Aβ42. These studies demonstrate i) a high-affinity interaction between TREM2 and Aβ oligomers that can block interaction with another TREM2 ligand and ii) that AD-associated TREM2 variants bind Aβ with equivalent affinity but show loss of function in terms of signaling and Aβ internalization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9027
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • APOE
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • TREM2
  • amyloid
  • innate immune response


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