Dedifferentiation and neuronal repression define familial Alzheimer’s disease

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Science Advances  13 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 46, eaba5933
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba5933


Identifying the systems-level mechanisms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, an unmet need, is an essential step toward the development of therapeutics. In this work, we report that the key disease-causative mechanisms, including dedifferentiation and repression of neuronal identity, are triggered by changes in chromatin topology. Here, we generated human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)–derived neurons from donor patients with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (EOFAD) and used a multiomics approach to mechanistically characterize the modulation of disease-associated gene regulatory programs. We demonstrate that EOFAD neurons dedifferentiate to a precursor-like state with signatures of ectoderm and nonectoderm lineages. RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and ChIP-seq analysis reveals that transcriptional alterations in the cellular state are orchestrated by changes in histone methylation and chromatin topology. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these mechanisms are observed in EOFAD-patient brains, validating our hiPSC-derived neuron models. The mechanistic endotypes of Alzheimer’s disease uncovered here offer key insights for therapeutic interventions.

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