Identity and function of gamma-secretase

J Neurosci Res. 2003 Nov 1;74(3):353-60. doi: 10.1002/jnr.10736.


gamma-Secretase catalyzes intramembrane proteolysis of various type I membrane proteins, including the amyloid-beta precursor protein and the Notch receptor. Despite its importance in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and to normal development, this protease has eluded identification until only very recently. Four membrane proteins are now known to be members of the protease complex: presenilin, nicastrin, aph-1, and pen-2. Recent findings suggest that these four proteins are sufficient to reconstitute the active gamma-secretase complex and that together they mediate the cell surface signaling of a variety of receptors via intramembrane proteolysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • Biological Evolution
  • Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Endopeptidases / isolation & purification*
  • Endopeptidases / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Endopeptidases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • BACE1 protein, human