Journal Article

The Presenilins and Alzheimer's Disease

Michael Hutton and John Hardy

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 6, issue 10, pages 1639-1646
Published in print September 1997 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online September 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
The Presenilins and Alzheimer's Disease

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The presenilin 1 and presenilin 2 genes have been identified as pathogenic loci involved in the majority of early onset, autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease. A series of (predominantly) missense mutations have been identified in the two genes which lead to disease. The presenilins are probably eight transmembrane domain proteins with both termini in the cytoplasmic compartment. They have a wide tissue distribution and are found in the endoplasmic reticulum and early Golgi. The mechanism of pathogenesis of the mutations is not clear although, both in patients and in in vitro systems, the effects of presenilin mutations are reminiscent of the effects of the pathogenic mutations in the amyloid precursor protein gene which lead to increases in the amount of amyloid-β42(43) being produced from the metabolism of the amyloid protein precursor. Thus, the presenilin data provide independent support for the amyloid cascade hypothesis of Alzheimer's pathogenesis. Work on the Caenorhabditis elegans homologues of the presenilins, spe-4 and sel-12, suggests that the presenilins may have a more general and direct role in the processing and trafficking of membrane-bound proteins and that, in part, the pathogenic mutations may disrupt this role.

Journal Article.  8287 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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