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Nat Cell Biol. 2009 Nov;11(11):1340-6. doi: 10.1038/ncb1978. Epub 2009 Oct 18.

Analysis of the gamma-secretase interactome and validation of its association with tetraspanin-enriched microdomains.

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  • 1Center for Human Genetics, K.U.Leuven, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Gamma-secretase, an aspartyl protease that belongs to the iCLiPs (intramembrane cleaving proteases) family, is a multiprotein complex that consists of presenilin (PS), nicastrin (NCT), Aph-1 and Pen-2 (ref. 1). It is responsible for generation of the beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta), the primary component of senile plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Although the four components are necessary and sufficient for gamma-secretase activity, additional proteins are possibly involved in its regulation. Consequently, we purified proteins associated with the active gamma-secretase complex from reconstituted PS-deficient fibroblasts, using tandem affinity purification (TAP) and identified a series of proteins that transiently interact with the gamma-secretase complex and are probably involved in complex maturation, membrane trafficking and, importantly, the tetraspanin web. Tetraspanins form detergent-resistant microdomains in the cell membrane and regulate cell adhesion, cell signalling and proteolysis. Association of the gamma-secretase complex with tetraspanin-enriched microdomains provides an explanation for the previously documented localization of gamma-secretase to raft-like domains. Thus, these studies suggest that maintenance of the integrity of tetraspanin microdomains contributes to the refinement of proteolytic activity of the gamma-secretase complex.

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