Although the Alzheimer amyloid protein precursor (APP) has been studied intensely for more than a decade, its function in neurons is unresolved. Much less is known about its binding partner FE65. We have shown recently that APP and FE65 synergistically regulate the movement of transfected cells. It remained to be shown whether endogenous APP and FE65 could play a similar role in vivo. Here, we show that FE65, like APP, is expressed at high levels in neurons. Using a combination of immunofluorescence, live imaging, and subcellular fractionation, we find that FE65 and APP localize in vitro and in vivo to the most motile regions of neurons, the growth cones. Within growth cones, APP and FE65 concentrate in actin-rich lamellipodia. Finally, APP and FE65 interact in nerve terminals, where they associate with Rab5-containing synaptic organelles but not with synaptic vesicles. Our data are consistent with a role for the APP/FE65 complex in regulation of actin-based membrane motility in neurons, which could be important for highly dynamic processes such as neurite growth and synapse modification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5407-5415
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2003


  • APP
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • FE65
  • Growth cone
  • Mena
  • Synapse


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