Nicastrin binds to membrane tethered Notch

Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nature Cell Biology (Impact Factor: 20.06). 09/2001; 3(8):751-4. DOI: 10.1038/35087069
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The presenilins and nicastrin, a type 1 transmembrane glycoprotein, form high molecular weight complexes that are involved in cleaving the beta-amyloid precursor protein (betaAPP) and Notch in their transmembrane domains. The former process (termed gamma-secretase cleavage) generates amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta), which is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. The latter process (termed S3-site cleavage) generates Notch intracellular domain (NICD), which is involved in intercellular signalling. Nicastrin binds both full-length betaAPP and the substrates of gamma-secretase (C99- and C83-betaAPP fragments), and modulates the activity of gamma-secretase. Although absence of the Caenorhabditis elegans nicastrin homologue (aph-2) is known to cause an embryonic-lethal glp-1 phenotype, the role of nicastrin in this process has not been explored. Here we report that nicastrin binds to membrane-tethered forms of Notch (substrates for S3-site cleavage of Notch), and that, although mutations in the conserved 312-369 domain of nicastrin strongly modulate gamma-secretase, they only weakly modulate the S3-site cleavage of Notch. Thus, nicastrin has a similar role in processing Notch and betaAPP, but the 312-369 domain may have differential effects on these activities. In addition, we report that the Notch and betaAPP pathways do not significantly compete with each other.