Nicastrin binds to membrane tethered Notch
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.
SourceAvailable from: Wei XuDevelopmental Cell 07/2002; 3:85-97. · 10.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The presenilin genes were first identified as the site of missense mutations causing early onset autosomal dominant familial Alzheimer's disease. Subsequent work has shown that the presenilin proteins are the catalytic subunits of a hetero-tetrameric complex containing APH1, nicastrin and PEN-2. This complex (variously termed presenilin complex or gamma-secretase complex) performs an unusual type of proteolysis in which the transmembrane domains of Type I proteins are cleaved within the hydrophobic compartment of the membrane. This review describes some of the molecular and structural biology of this unusual enzyme complex. The presenilin complex is a bilobed structure. The head domain contains the ectodomain of nicastrin. The base domain contains a central cavity with a lateral cleft that likely provides the route for access of the substrate to the catalytic cavity within the centre of the base domain. There are reciprocal allosteric interactions between various sites in the complex that affect its function. For instance, binding of Compound E, a peptidomimetic inhibitor to the PS1 N-terminus, induces significant conformational changes that reduces substrate binding at the initial substrate docking site, and thus inhibits substrate cleavage. However, there is a reciprocal allosteric interaction between these sites such that prior binding of the substrate to the initial docking site paradoxically increases the binding of the Compound E peptidomimetic inhibitor. Such reciprocal interactions are likely to form the basis of a gating mechanism that underlies access of substrate to the catalytic site. An increasingly detailed understanding of the structural biology of the presenilin complex is an essential step towards rational design of substrate- and/or cleavage site-specific modulators of presenilin complex function.Molecular Neurodegeneration 12/2014; 9(1):59. DOI:10.1186/1750-1326-9-59 · 5.29 Impact Factor