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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Notch receptor cleavage depends on but is not directly executed by presenilins.


PMID 11891288

Abstract

Notch receptors undergo three distinct proteolytic cleavages during maturation and activation. The third cleavage occurs within the plasma membrane and results in the release and translocation of the intracellular domain into the nucleus to execute Notch signaling. This so-called gamma-secretase cleavage is under the control of presenilins, but it is not known whether presenilins themselves carry out the cleavage or whether they act by means of yet-unidentified gamma-secretase(s). In this article, we show that Notch intracellular cleavage in intact cells completely depends on presenilins. In contrast, partial purification of the Notch cleavage activity reveals an activity, which is present only in protein extracts from presenilin-containing cells, and which does not comigrate with presenilin. This finding provides evidence for the existence of a specific Notch-processing activity, which is physically distinct from presenilins. We conclude from these experiments that presenilins are critically required for Notch intracellular cleavage but are not themselves directly mediating the cleavage.

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