beta A4 secretion occurs upon processing of amyloid protein precursor (APP) by beta-secretase (N-terminus of beta A4) and gamma-secretase (C-terminus). To determine the sequence of these activities and the processing intermediate of beta A4, we expressed several truncated APP molecules in human HEK-293 cells. Immunofluorescence and biotinylation studies indicated that full-length APP or APP lacking the cytosolic domain both were located intracellularly, associated with the cell surface and secreted. APPs truncated after amino acid 40, 42, or 43 of beta A4 were not inserted into cell membranes, were found intracellularly but not on the cell surface, and were efficiently secreted into the culture medium. The secretion of APP truncated at amino acid 40 of beta A4 occurred without proteolytic processing. Neither beta A4 nor P3 (the product of the alpha-secretase) was secreted from any of the APP molecules truncated at the gamma-secretase sites. In sharp contrast to this, when the C-terminal 100 amino acids of APP were expressed (APP truncated at the N-terminus of beta A4), a robust beta A4 secretion was observed. Thus, the C-terminal fragment of APP produced by beta-secretase activity is likely to be the processing intermediate of beta A4.