Presenilins (PSs) are catalytic components of the γ-secretase proteolytic complexes that produce Aβ and cell signaling peptides γ-Secretase substrates are mostly membrane-bound peptides derived following proteolytic cleavage of the extracellular domain of type I transmembrane proteins. Recent work reveals that γ-secretase substrate processing is regulated by proteins termed γ-secretase substrate recruiting factors (γSSRFs) that bridge substrates to γ-secretase complexes. These factors constitute novel targets for pharmacological control of specific γ-secretase products, such as Aβ and signaling peptides. PS familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) mutants cause a loss of γ-secretase cleavage function at epsilon sites of substrates thus inhibiting production of cell signaling peptides while promoting accumulation of uncleaved toxic substrates. Importantly, γ-secretase inhibitors may cause toxicity in vivo by similar mechanisms. Here we review novel mechanisms that control γ-secretase substrate selection and cleavage and examine their relevance to AD.
- Alzheimer's disease
- FAD mutations cause loss of γ-secretase activity
- Toxic substrates
- γ-Secretase substrate recruiting factors (γSSRFs)
- γ-Secretase-produced signaling peptides