APP controls the formation of PI(3,5)P2 vesicles through its binding of the PIKfyve complex

Heather Currinn, Benjamin Guscott, Zita Balklava, Alice Rothnie, Thomas Wassmer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phosphoinositides are signalling lipids that are crucial for major signalling events as well as established regulators of membrane trafficking. Control of endosomal sorting and endosomal homeostasis requires phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI(3)P) and phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2), the latter a lipid of low abundance but significant physiological relevance. PI(3,5)P2 is formed by phosphorylation of PI(3)P by the PIKfyve complex which is crucial for maintaining endosomal homeostasis. Interestingly, loss of PIKfyve function results in dramatic neurodegeneration. Despite the significance of PIKfyve, its regulation is still poorly understood. Here we show that the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP), a central molecule in Alzheimer’s disease, associates with the PIKfyve complex (consisting of Vac14, PIKfyve and Fig4) and that the APP intracellular domain directly binds purified Vac14. We also show that the closely related APP paralogues, APLP1 and 2 associate with the PIKfyve complex. Whether APP family proteins can additionally form direct protein–protein interaction with PIKfyve or Fig4 remains to be explored. We show that APP binding to the PIKfyve complex drives formation of PI(3,5)P2 positive vesicles and that APP gene family members are required for supporting PIKfyve function. Interestingly, the PIKfyve complex is required for APP trafficking, suggesting a feedback loop in which APP, by binding to and stimulating PI(3,5)P2 vesicle formation may control its own trafficking. These data suggest that altered APP processing, as observed in Alzheimer’s disease, may disrupt PI(3,5)P2 metabolism, endosomal sorting and homeostasis with important implications for our understanding of the mechanism of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Funding: Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences Research Council (BB/
K014862/1) and Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK-PhD2012-13)

Supplementary data avaialbe on the journal website.


  • endosomal sorting
  • ML1Nx2
  • mucolipin-1
  • neurodegeneration
  • TRPML1


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