Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Major Professor

Huntington Potter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

R. Ken Keller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Morgan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Larry P. Solomonson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maxine Sutcliffe, Ph.D.


aneuploidy, cell cycle, mitosis, in situ hybridization, Down Syndrome


Mutations in the presenilin 1 gene account for most early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). The presenilins and AD may also be related through a common involvement in the cell cycle. Here we report that one important aspect of the cell cycle---proper chromosome segregation---is dependent on presenilin function and therefore may be involved in AD pathogenesis. Specifically we find that FAD mutations in presenilin 1 (M146L and M146V) lead to chromosome missegregation and aneuploidy in vivo and in vitro: 1) Both metaphase chromosome analysis and in situ hybridization reveal significant aneuploidy in the lymphocytes and neurons of PS-1 transgenic mice. 2) Transiently transfected human cells expressing normal and, especially, mutant PS-1 develop aneuploidy within 48 hours, including trisomy 21, while cells transfected with dominant negative PS-1 genes lacking ?-secretase activity have no effect on chromosome segregation. 3) Analysis of mitotic spindles in the transfected cells reveals abnormal microtubule arrays and lagging chromosomes. The possible mechanisms by which cell cycle defects and chromosome missegregation induced by y-secretase may contribute to Alzheimer's disease will be discussed.