Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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A loss of function mutant of the presenilin homologue SEL-12 undergoes aberrant endoproteolysis in Caenorhabditis elegans and increases Aβ42 generation in human cells

J Biol Chem 275(52): 40925-32

Authors/Editors: Okochi M
Eimer S
Bottcher A
Baumeister R
Romig H
Walter J
Capell A
Steiner H
Haass C
Publication Date: 2000
Type of Publication: Journal Article

The familial Alzheimer's disease-associated presenilins (PSs) occur as a dimeric complex of proteolytically generated fragments, which functionally supports endoproteolysis of Notch and the β-amyloid precursor protein (βAPP). A homologous gene, sel-12, has been identified in Caenorhabditis elegans. We now demonstrate that wild-type (wt) SEL-12 undergoes endoproteolytic cleavage in C. elegans similar to the PSs in human tissue. In contrast, SEL-12 C60S protein expressed from the sel-12(ar131) allele is miscleaved in C. elegans, resulting in a larger mutant N-terminal fragment. Neither SEL-12 wt nor C60S undergo endoproteolytic processing upon expression in human cells, suggesting that SEL-12 is cleaved by a C. elegans-specific endoproteolytic activity. The loss of function of sel-12 in C. elegans is not associated with a dominant negative activity in human cells, because SEL-12 C60S and the corresponding PS1 C92S mutation do not interfere with Notch1 cleavage. Moreover, both mutant variants increase the aberrant production of the highly amyloidogenic 42-amino acid version of amyloid β-peptide similar to familial Alzheimer's disease-associated human PS mutants. Our data therefore demonstrate that the C60S mutation in SEL-12 is associated with aberrant endoproteolysis and a loss of function in C. elegans, whereas a gain of misfunction is observed upon expression in human cells.

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