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Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Jul;2(7):428-34.

Transition-state analogue inhibitors of gamma-secretase bind directly to presenilin-1.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA.


The beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP), which is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, and the Notch receptor, which is responsible for critical signalling events during development, both undergo unusual proteolysis within their transmembrane domains by unknown gamma-secretases. Here we show that an affinity reagent designed to interact with the active site of gamma-secretase binds directly and specifically to heterodimeric forms of presenilins, polytopic proteins that are mutated in hereditary Alzheimer's and are known mediators of gamma-secretase cleavage of both beta-APP and Notch. These results provide evidence that heterodimeric presenilins contain the active site of gamma-secretase, and validate presenilins as principal targets for the design of drugs to treat and prevent Alzheimer's disease.

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