In AD, an imbalance between Aβ production and removal drives elevated brain Aβ levels and eventual amyloid plaque deposition. APP undergoes nonamyloidogenic processing via α-cleavage at the plasma membrane, amyloidogenic β- and γ-cleavage within endosomes to generate Aβ, or lysosomal degradation in neurons. Considering multiple reports implicating impaired lysosome function as a driver of increased amyloidogenic processing of APP, we explored the efficacy of targeting transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosomal pathways, to reduce Aβ levels. CMV promoter-driven TFEB, transduced via stereotactic hippocampal injections of adenoassociated virus particles in APP/PS1 mice, localized primarily to neuronal nuclei and upregulated lysosome biogenesis. This resulted in reduction of APP protein, the α and β C-terminal APP fragments (CTFs), and in the steady-state Aβ levels in the brain interstitial fluid. In aged mice, total Aβ levels and amyloid plaque load were selectively reduced in the TFEB-transduced hippocampi. TFEB transfection in N2a cells stably expressing APP695, stimulated lysosome biogenesis, reduced steady-state levels of APP and α- and β-CTFs, and attenuated Aβ generation by accelerating flux through the endosome-lysosome pathway. Cycloheximide chase assays revealed a shortening of APP half-life with exogenous TFEB expression, which was prevented by concomitant inhibition of lysosomal acidification. These data indicate that TFEB enhances flux through lysosomal degradative pathways to induce APP degradation and reduce Aβ generation. Activation of TFEB in neurons is an effective strategy to attenuate Aβ generation and attenuate amyloid plaque deposition in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12137-12151
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid
  • Amyloid precursor protein
  • Lysosome
  • TFEB


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