An overview of APP processing enzymes and products

Neuromolecular Med. 2010 Mar;12(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/s12017-009-8104-z.


The generation of amyloid beta-peptide (A beta) by enzymatic cleavages of the beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) has been at the center of Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. While the basic process of beta- and gamma-secretase-mediated generation of A beta is text book knowledge, new aspects of A beta and other cleavage products have emerged in recent years. Also our understanding of the enzymes involved in APP proteolysis has increased dramatically. All of these discoveries contribute to a more complete understanding of APP processing and the physiologic and pathologic roles of its secreted and intracellular protein products. Understanding APP processing is important for any therapeutic strategy aimed at reducing A beta levels in AD. In this review, we provide a concise description of the current state of understanding the enzymes involved in APP processing, the cleavage products generated by different processing patterns, and the potential functions of those cleavage products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / genetics
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases