Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Requirement of PEN-2 for stabilization of the presenilin N-/C-terminal fragment heterodimer within the γ-secretase complex

J Biol Chem 279(22): 23255-61

Authors/Editors: Prokop S
Shirotani K
Edbauer D
Haass C
Steiner H
Publication Date: 2004
Type of Publication: Journal Article

γ-Secretase is a protease complex composed of presenilin (PS), nicastrin (NCT), APH-1, and PEN-2, which catalyzes intramembrane cleavage of several type I transmembrane proteins including the Alzheimer's disease-associated β-amyloid precursor protein. We generated stable RNA interference-mediated PEN-2 knockdown cells to probe mutant PEN-2 variants for functional activity. Knockdown of PEN-2 was associated with impaired NCT maturation and deficient PS1 endoproteolysis, which was efficiently rescued by wild type or N-terminally tagged PEN-2 but not by C-terminally tagged PEN-2 or by the C-terminally truncated PEN-2-ΔC mutant. Although the latter mutants rescued the PS1 holoprotein accumulation associated with the PEN-2 knockdown, they failed to restore normal levels of the PS1 N- and C-terminal fragments and to maturate NCT. PEN-2-ΔC was highly unstable and rapidly turned over by proteasomal degradation consistent with its failure to become stably incorporated into the γ-secretase complex. In addition, expression of PEN-2-ΔC caused a selective instability of the PS1 N-/C-terminal fragment heterodimer that underwent proteasomal degradation, whereas NCT and APH-1 were stable. Interestingly, when we knocked down PEN-2 in the background of the endoproteolysis-deficient PS1 Δexon9 mutant, immature NCT still accumulated, demonstrating that PEN-2 is also required for γ-secretase complex maturation when PS endoproteolysis cannot occur. Taken together, our data suggest that PEN-2 is required for the stabilization of the PS fragment heterodimer within the γ-secretase complex following PS endoproteolysis. This function critically depends on the PEN-2 C terminus. Moreover, our data show that PEN-2 is generally required for γ-secretase complex maturation independent of its activity in PS1 endoproteolysis.

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