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Curr Alzheimer Res. 2008 Apr;5(2):172-8.

From presenilinase to gamma-secretase, cleave to capacitate.

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1
Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. wxia@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Mutations in two genes, presenilin 1 (PS1) and its homologue presenilin 2 (PS2), account for a majority of early onset familial Alzheimer disease cases which are characterized by intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular amyloid fibrils composed of the amyloid beta protein (Abeta). Abeta is derived from sequential cleavages of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) by beta-secretase and gamma-secretase, the latter is composed of four components, PS1, nicastrin (NCT), presenilin enhancer 2 (PEN-2), and anterior pharynx defective (APH-1). These components not only maintain the stability of the gamma-secretase complex but also regulate the activity of presenilinase, the protease responsible for the cleavage of full length PS1 into N-terminal and C-terminal fragments (NTF/CTF). We have previously shown that endoproteolysis of PS1 into NTF/CTF by presenilinase requires two critical aspartate residues, suggesting that PS1 may undergo autoproteolysis; full length PS1 complexes with NCT, PEN-2, APH-1 and forms the presenilinase. While these two aspartate residues are necessary for the endoproteolysis of full length PS1, they are equally critical for the gamma-secretase cleavage of multiple substrates, and it is hypothesized that the full length PS1/presenilinase is the zymogen of gamma-secretase. The inhibition profiles of presenilinase and gamma-secretase are illustrated by their biochemical similarity but are pharmacologically distinct. Since the uncleaved PS1 loop may obstruct the entry of gamma-secretase substrates to the docking site of the gamma-secretase complex, investigation of presenilinase inhibitors interfering with substrate-docking may facilitate a novel approach to identify APP specific gamma-secretase inhibitors.

PMID:
18393802
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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