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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 21;280(42):35352-60. Epub 2005 Jul 25.

A nine-transmembrane domain topology for presenilin 1.

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  • 1Department of Neurotec, Division of Experimental Geriatrics, Karolinska Institutet, Novum, SE-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden.


Presenilin (PS) provides the catalytic core of the gamma-secretase complex. Gamma-secretase activity leads to generation of the amyloid beta-peptide, a key event implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. PS has ten hydrophobic regions, which can all theoretically form membrane-spanning domains. Various topology models have been proposed, and the prevalent view holds that PS has an eight-transmembrane (TM) domain organization; however, the precise topology has not been unequivocally determined. Previous topological studies are based on non-functional truncated variants of PS proteins fused to reporter domains, or immunocytochemical staining. In this study, we used a more subtle N-linked glycosylation scanning approach, which allowed us to assess the topology of functional PS1 molecules. Glycosylation acceptor sequences were introduced into full-length human PS1, and the results showed that the first hydrophilic loop is oriented toward the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum, whereas the N terminus and large hydrophilic loop are in the cytosol. Although this is in accordance with most current models, our data unexpectedly revealed that the C terminus localized to the luminal side of the endoplasmic reticulum. Additional studies on the glycosylation pattern after TM domain deletions, combined with computer-based TM protein topology predictions and biotinylation assays of different PS1 mutants, led us to conclude that PS1 has nine TM domains and that the C terminus locates to the lumen/extracellular space.

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