Subcellular localization of presenilins: association with a unique membrane pool in cultured cells

Neurobiol Dis. 2000 Apr;7(2):99-117. doi: 10.1006/nbdi.1999.0280.


We have investigated the subcellular distribution of presenilin-1 (PS1) and presenilin-2 (PS2) in a variety of mammalian cell lines. In Iodixanol-based density gradients, PS1 derivatives show a biphasic distribution, cofractionating with membranes containing ER-resident proteins and an additional population of membranes with low buoyant density that do not contain markers of the Golgi complex, ERGIC, COP II vesicles, ER exit compartment, COP II receptor, Golgi SNARE, trans-Golgi network, caveolar membranes, or endocytic vesicles. Confocal immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy studies fully supported the fractionation studies. These data suggest that PS1 fragments accumulate in a unique subcompartment(s) of the ER or ER to Golgi trafficking intermediates. Interestingly, the FAD-linked PS1 variants show a marked redistribution toward the heavier region of the gradient. Finally, and in contrast to PS1, PS2 fragments are detected preponderantly in more densely sedimenting membranes, suggesting that the subcellular compartments in which these molecules accumulate are distinct.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Presenilin-1
  • Presenilin-2
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / ultrastructure


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Presenilin-1
  • Presenilin-2