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Biochem J. 1999 Oct 15;343 Pt 2:371-5.

Membrane-anchored metalloprotease MDC9 has an alpha-secretase activity responsible for processing the amyloid precursor protein.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan.


MDC9, also known as meltrin gamma, is a membrane-anchored metalloprotease. MDC9 contains several distinct protein domains: a signal sequence followed by a prodomain and a domain showing sequence similarity to snake venom metalloproteases, a disintegrin-like domain, a cysteine-rich region, an epidermal-growth-factor-like repeat, a transmembrane domain and a cytoplasmic domain. Here we demonstrate that MDC9 expressed in COS cells is cleaved between the prodomain and the metalloprotease domain. Further, when MDC9 was co-expressed in COS cells with amyloid precursor protein (APP695) and treated with phorbol ester, APP695 was digested exclusively at the alpha-secretory site in MDC9-expressing cells. When an artificial alpha-secretory site mutant was also co-expressed with MDC9 and treated with phorbol ester, APP secreted by alpha-secretase was not increased in conditional medium. Inhibition of MDC9 by a hydroxamate-based metalloprotease inhibitor, SI-27, enhanced beta-secretase cleavage. These results suggest that MDC9 has an alpha-secretase-like activity and is activated by phorbol ester.

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