Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Mar 5;99(5):2720-5. Epub 2002 Feb 26.

Activity-dependent isolation of the presenilin- gamma -secretase complex reveals nicastrin and a gamma substrate.

Author information

  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Presenilin heterodimers apparently contain the active site of gamma-secretase, a polytopic aspartyl protease involved in the transmembrane processing of both the Notch receptor and the amyloid-beta precursor protein. Although critical to embryonic development and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, this protease is difficult to characterize, primarily because it is a multicomponent complex of integral membrane proteins. Here the functional gamma-secretase complex was isolated by using an immobilized active site-directed inhibitor of the protease. Presenilin heterodimers and nicastrin bound specifically to this inhibitor under conditions tightly correlating with protease activity, whereas several other presenilin-interacting proteins (beta-catenin, calsenilin, and presenilin-associated protein) did not bind. Moreover, anti-nicastrin antibodies immunoprecipitated gamma-secretase activity from detergent-solubilized microsomes. Unexpectedly, C83, the major endogenous amyloid-beta precursor protein substrate of gamma-secretase, was also quantitatively associated with the complex. These results provide direct biochemical evidence that nicastrin is a member of the active gamma-secretase complex, indicate that beta-catenin, calsenilin, and presenilin-associated protein are not required for gamma activity, and suggest an unprecedented mechanism of substrate-protease interaction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk