The structural requirements for presenilin (PS) to produce active presenilinase and γ-secretase enzymes are poorly understood. Here we investigate the role the cytoplasmic C-terminal region of PS1 plays in PS1 activity. Deletion or addition of residues at the PS C-terminus has been reported to inhibit presenilinase endoproteolysis of PS and alter γ-secretase activity. In this study, we use a sensitive assay in PS1/2KO MEFs to define a domain at the extreme C-terminus of PS1 that is essential for both presenilinase and γ-secretase activities. Progressive deletion of the C-terminus demonstrated that removal of nine residues produces a PS1 molecule (458ST) that lacks both presenilinase processing and γ-secretase cleavage of Notch and APP substrates. In contrast, removal of four or five residues had no effect (462ST, 463ST), while intermediate truncations partially inhibited PS1 activity. The 458ST mutant was unable to replace endogenous wtPS1 in HEK293 cells. Although 458ST was able to form a γ-secretase complex, this complex was not matured, illustrated by mutant PS1 instability, lack of endoproteolysis, and little production of mature Nicastrin. These data indicate that the C-terminal end of PS1 is essential for Nicastrin trafficking and modification as well as the replacement of endogenous PS1 by PS1 transgenes.
- Alzheimer's disease