Pore-forming scissors? A first structural glimpse of γ-secretase
Trends Biochem Sci 31(9): 491-3
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Amyloid plaques, which are composed of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), signify Alzheimer's disease pathology. Secretases generate Aβ by processing the β-amyloid precursor protein. γ-Secretase, a complex comprising four different proteins, liberates Aβ from its precursor by intramembrane proteolysis. The first impression of the shape of γ-secretase has recently been revealed by electron microscopy. It indicates a spherical transmembrane particle with an interior chamber that, presumably, accommodates its catalytic residues, and two openings that might be exit sites for the cleavage products.