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J Biol Chem. 2005 Dec 23;280(51):41967-75. Epub 2005 Oct 18.

Pen-2 is incorporated into the gamma-secretase complex through binding to transmembrane domain 4 of presenilin 1.

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Department of Neuropathology and Neuroscience, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


gamma-Secretase is a multimeric membrane protein complex comprised of presenilin (PS), nicastrin (Nct), Aph-1, and Pen-2. It is a member of an atypical class of aspartic proteases that hydrolyzes peptide bonds within the membrane. During the biosynthetic process of the gamma-secretase complex, Nct and Aph-1 form a heterodimeric intermediate complex and bind to the C-terminal region of PS, serving as a stabilizing scaffold for the complex. Pen-2 is then recruited into this trimeric complex and triggers endoproteolysis of PS, conferring gamma-secretase activity. Although the Pen-2 accumulation depends on PS, the binding partner of Pen-2 within the gamma-secretase complex remains unknown. We reconstituted PS1 in Psen1/Psen2 deficient cells by expressing a series of PS1 mutants in which one of the N-terminal six transmembrane domains (TMDs) was swapped with those of CD4 (a type I transmembrane protein) or CLAC-P (a type II transmembrane protein). We report that the proximal two-thirds of TMD4 of PS1, including the conserved Trp-Asn-Phe sequence, are required for its interaction with Pen-2. Using a chimeric CD4 molecule harboring PS1 TMD4, we further demonstrate that the PS1 TMD4 bears a direct binding motif to Pen-2. Pen-2 may contribute to the activation of the gamma-secretase complex by directly binding to the TMD4 of PS1.

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