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J Biol Chem. 2006 Sep 8;281(36):26569-77. Epub 2006 Jul 14.

Presenilin-1 maintains a nine-transmembrane topology throughout the secretory pathway.

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Laboratory of Membrane Trafficking, Department of Human Genetics, Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven/VIB11, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Presenilin-1 is a polytopic membrane protein that assembles with nicastrin, PEN-2, and APH-1 into an active gamma-secretase complex required for intramembrane proteolysis of type I transmembrane proteins. Although essential for a correct understanding of structure-function relationships, its exact topology remains an issue of strong controversy. We revisited presenilin-1 topology by inserting glycosylation consensus sequences in human PS1 and expressing the obtained mutants in a presenilin-1 and 2 knock-out background. Based on the glycosylation status of these variants we provide evidence that presenilin-1 traffics through the Golgi after a conformational change induced by complex assembly. Based on our glycosylation variants of presenilin-1 we hypothesize that complex assembly occurs during transport between the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. Furthermore, our data indicate that presenilin-1 has a nine-transmembrane domain topology with the COOH terminus exposed to the lumen/extracellular surface. This topology is independently underscored by lysine mutagenesis, cell surface biotinylation, and cysteine derivation strategies and is compatible with the different physiological functions assigned to presenilin-1.

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