Phosphorylation of p66Shc and forkhead proteins mediates Aβ toxicity

Wanli W. Smith, Darrell D. Norton, Myriam Gorospe, Haibing Jiang, Shino Nemoto, Nikki J. Holbrook, Toren Finkel, John W. Kusiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Excessive accumulation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) plays an early and critical role in synapse and neuronal loss in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Increased oxidative stress is one of the mechanisms whereby Aβ induces neuronal death. Given the lessened susceptibility to oxidative stress exhibited by mice lacking p66Shc, we investigated the role of p66Shc in Aβ toxicity. Treatment of cells and primary neuronal cultures with Aβ caused apoptotic death and induced p66Shc phosphorylation at Ser36. Ectopic expression of a dominant-negative SEK1 mutant or chemical JNK inhibition reduced Aβ-induced JNK activation and p66Shc phosphorylation (Ser36), suggesting that JNK phosphorylates p66Shc. Aβ induced the phosphorylation and hence inactivation of forkhead transcription factors in a p66Shc-dependent manner. Ectopic expression of p66ShcS36A or antioxidant treatment protected cells against Aβ-induced death and reduced forkhead phosphorylation, suggesting that p66Shc phosphorylation critically influences the redox regulation of forkhead proteins and underlies Aβ toxicity. These findings underscore the potential usefulness of JNK, p66Shc, and forkhead proteins as therapeutic targets for AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 25 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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