EMBO molecular medicine

TREM2 shedding by cleavage at the H157-S158 bond is accelerated for the Alzheimer's disease-associated H157Y variant.

PMID 28855301


We have characterised the proteolytic cleavage events responsible for the shedding of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) from primary cultures of human macrophages, murine microglia and TREM2-expressing human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells. In all cell types, a soluble 17 kDa N-terminal cleavage fragment was shed into the conditioned media in a constitutive process that is inhibited by G1254023X and metalloprotease inhibitors and siRNA targeting ADAM10. Inhibitors of serine proteases and matrix metalloproteinases 2/9, and ADAM17 siRNA did not block TREM2 shedding. Peptidomimetic protease inhibitors highlighted a possible cleavage site, and mass spectrometry confirmed that shedding occurred predominantly at the H157-S158 peptide bond for both wild-type and H157Y human TREM2 and for the wild-type murine orthologue. Crucially, we also show that the Alzheimer's disease-associated H157Y TREM2 variant was shed more rapidly than wild type from HEK293 cells, possibly by a novel, batimastat- and ADAM10-siRNA-independent, sheddase activity. These insights offer new therapeutic targets for modulating the innate immune response in Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.