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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Presenilin-1, nicastrin, amyloid precursor protein, and gamma-secretase activity are co-localized in the lysosomal membrane.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is caused by the cerebral deposition of beta-amyloid (Abeta), a 38-43-amino acid peptide derived by proteolytic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein ( APP). Initial studies indicated that final cleavage of APP by the gamma-secretase (a complex containing presenilin and nicastrin) to produce Abeta occurred in the endosomal/lysosomal system. However, other studies showing a predominant endoplasmic reticulum localization of the gamma-secretase proteins and a neutral pH optimum of in vitro gamma-secretase assays have challenged this conclusion. We have recently identified nicastrin as a major lysosomal membrane protein. In the present work, we use Western blotting and immunogold electron microscopy to demonstrate that significant amounts of mature nicastrin, presenilin-1, and APP are co-localized with lysosomal associated membrane protein-1 (cAMP-1) in the outer membranes of lysosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these membranes contain an acidic gamma-secretase activity, which is immunoprecipitable with an antibody to nicastrin. These experiments establish APP, nicastrin, and presenilin-1 as resident lysosomal membrane proteins and indicate that gamma-secretase is a lysosomal protease. These data reassert the importance of the lysosomal/endosomal system in the generation of Abeta and suggest a role for lysosomes in the pathophysiology of AD.[1]


  1. Presenilin-1, nicastrin, amyloid precursor protein, and gamma-secretase activity are co-localized in the lysosomal membrane. Pasternak, S.H., Bagshaw, R.D., Guiral, M., Zhang, S., Ackerley, C.A., Pak, B.J., Callahan, J.W., Mahuran, D.J. J. Biol. Chem. (2003) [Pubmed]
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