Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with progressive dementia. This mini-review focuses on how the amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in AD and Down syndrome as the regulator of the APP-BP1/hUba3 activated neddylation pathway. It is argued that the physiological function of APP is to downregulate the level of β-catenin. However, this APP function is abnormally amplified in patients with familial AD (FAD) mutations in APP and presenilins, resulting in the hyperactivation of neddylation and the decrease of β-catenin below a threshold level. Evidence in the literature is summarized to show that dysfunction of APP in downregulating β-catenin may underlie the mechanism of neuronal death in AD and Down syndrome.