The Journal of cell biology
Feb 04, 2019 218 (2) 644-663
Vol. 218, Issue 2, Medline Page 644-663
A cellular complex of BACE1 and γ-secretase sequentially generates Aβ from its full-length precursor.
Intramembrane proteolysis of transmembrane substrates by the presenilin-γ-secretase complex is preceded and regulated by shedding of the substrate's ectodomain by α- or β-secretase. We asked whether β- and γ-secretases interact to mediate efficient sequential processing of APP, generating the amyloid β (Aβ) peptides that initiate Alzheimer's disease. We describe a hitherto unrecognized multiprotease complex containing active β- and γ-secretases. BACE1 coimmunoprecipitated and cofractionated with γ-secretase in cultured cells and in mouse and human brain. An endogenous high molecular weight (HMW) complex (∼5 MD) containing β- and γ-secretases and holo-APP was catalytically active in vitro and generated a full array of Aβ peptides, with physiological Aβ42/40 ratios. The isolated complex responded properly to γ-secretase modulators. Alzheimer's-causing mutations in presenilin altered the Aβ42/40 peptide ratio generated by the HMW β/γ-secretase complex indistinguishably from that observed in whole cells. Thus, Aβ is generated from holo-APP by a BACE1-γ-secretase complex that provides sequential, efficient RIP processing of full-length substrates to final products.