Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Neurosci. 2001 Oct;17(2):199-204.

gamma-Secretase inhibitors as molecular probes of presenilin function.

Author information

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


Mutations in the presenilins cause Alzheimer's disease (AD) and alter gamma-secretase activity to increase the production of the 42-residue amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) found disproportionally in the cerebral plaques that characterize the disease. The serpentine presenilins are required for transmembrane cleavage of both the amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP) and the Notch receptor by y-secretase, and presenilins are biochemically associated with the protease. Inhibitors of gamma-secretase have provided critical clues to the function of presenilins. Pharmacological profiling suggested that gamma-secretase is an aspartyl protease, leading to the identification of two conserved aspartates important to presenilin's role in proteolysis. Conversion of transition-state analogue inhibitors of gamma-secretase to affinity reagents resulted in specific tagging of the heterodimeric form of presenilins, strongly suggesting that the active site of gamma-secretase lies at the interface of the presenilin heterodimer. Heterodimeric presenilin appears to be the catalytic portion of a multi-protein gamma-secretase complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center