Gamma-secretase subunits associate in intracellular membrane compartments in Arabidopsis thaliana

J Exp Bot. 2014 Jul;65(12):3015-27. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru147. Epub 2014 Apr 10.


Gamma-secretase is a multisubunit complex with intramembrane proteolytic activity. In humans it was identified in genetic screens of patients suffering from familial forms of Alzheimer's disease, and since then it was shown to mediate cleavage of more than 80 substrates, including amyloid precursor protein or Notch receptor. Moreover, in animals, γ-secretase was shown to be involved in regulation of a wide range of cellular events, including cell signalling, regulation of endocytosis of membrane proteins, their trafficking, and degradation. Here we show that genes coding for γ-secretase homologues are present in plant genomes. Also, amino acid motifs crucial for γ-secretase activity are conserved in plants. Moreover, all γ-secretase subunits: PS1/PS2, APH-1, PEN-2, and NCT colocalize and interact with each other in Arabidopsis thaliana protoplasts. The intracellular localization of γ-secretase subunits in Arabidopsis protoplasts revealed a distribution in endomembrane system compartments that is consistent with data from animal studies. Together, our data may be considered as a starting point for analysis of γ-secretase in plants.

Keywords: Authophagy; complex assembly; endomembrane system; gamma-secretase; intramembrane protease; localization; presenilin; senescence; vesicular trafficking..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / chemistry
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / genetics*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / classification
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Membranes / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protoplasts / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases