The Journal of biological chemistry

The novel presenilin-1-associated protein is a proapoptotic mitochondrial protein.

PMID 12377771


Recent studies have suggested a possible role for presenilin proteins in apoptotic cell death observed in Alzheimer's disease. The mechanism by which presenilin proteins regulate apoptotic cell death is not well understood. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we previously isolated a novel protein, presenilin-associated protein (PSAP) that specifically interacts with the C terminus of presenilin 1 (PS1), but not presenilin 2 (PS2). Here we report that PSAP is a mitochondrial resident protein sharing homology with mitochondrial carrier protein. PSAP was detected in a mitochondria-enriched fraction, and PSAP immunofluorescence was present in a punctate pattern that colocalized with a mitochondrial marker. More interestingly, overexpression of PSAP caused apoptotic death. PSAP-induced apoptosis was documented using multiple independent approaches, including membrane blebbing, chromosome condensation and fragmentation, DNA laddering, cleavage of the death substrate poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and flow cytometry. PSAP-induced cell death was accompanied by cytochrome c release from mitochondria and caspase-3 activation. Moreover, the general caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone, which blocked cell death, did not block the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria caused by overexpression of PSAP, indicating that PSAP-induced cytochrome c release was independent of caspase activity. The mitochondrial localization and proapoptotic activity of PSAP suggest that it is an important regulator of apoptosis.