Mutations in two related genes, presenilin 1 and presenilin 2 (PS1 and PS2), cosegregate with Alzheimer's disease. PS1 and PS2 are highly homologous polytopic membrane proteins that are subject to endoproteolytic cleavage in vivo. The resulting N- and C-terminal derivatives are the preponderant PS- related species that accumulate in cultured cells and tissue. In earlier studies, we demonstrated that PS1 N- and C-terminal derivatives accumulate to 1:1 stoichiometry and that the absolute levels of fragments are established by a tightly regulated and saturable mechanism. These findings led to the suggestion that the levels of PS1 derivatives might be determined by their association with limiting cellular components. In this study, we use in situ chemical cross-linking and coimmunoprecipitation analyses to document that the N- and C-terminal derivatives of either PS1 or PS2 can be coisolated. Moreover, and in contrast to published reports which documented that PS1 and PS2 form stable heteromeric assemblies with the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP), we have failed to provide evidence for physiological complexes between PS1 and PS2 holoproteins or their derivatives with APP.
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