Amyloid deposition is a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The principal component of amyloid deposits is beta amyloid peptide (Abeta), a peptide derived by proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP is axonally transported by the fast anterograde component. Several studies have indicated that Abeta deposits occur in proximity to neuritic and synaptic profiles. Taken together, these latter observations have suggested that APP, axonally transported to nerve terminals, may be processed to Abeta at those sites. To examine the fate of APP in the CNS, we injected [35S]methionine into the rat entorhinal cortex and examined the trafficking and processing of de novo synthesized APP in the perforant pathway and at presynaptic sites in the hippocampal formation. We report that both full-length and processed APP accumulate at presynaptic terminals of entorhinal neurons. Finally, we demonstrate that at these synaptic sites, C-terminal fragments of APP containing the entire Abeta domain accumulate, suggesting that these species may represent the penultimate precursors of synaptic Abeta.