Physiologic and Pathologic Events Mediated by Intramembranous and Juxtamembranous Proteolysis

Science's STKE  04 Mar 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 172, pp. re4
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.172.re4

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Intramembranous proteolysis (IP) is a recently recognized mechanism for transmembrane signal transduction that involves proteolysis of transmembrane proteins within their membrane-spanning domains. Juxtamembranous proteolysis (JP) is similar, but proteolytic cleavage of a transmembrane protein occurs at a site close to, but not within, the transmembrane domain of the target protein. In both IP and JP, a soluble domain of a transmembrane protein is released from its membrane tether. This domain can then transmit a signal either locally or at some distance from the site of cleavage. In certain signaling pathways, JP and IP are linked. JP on one side of the membrane results in secondary IP, which then releases a signaling domain from the membrane. Whereas well-characterized proteases such as caspases, the proteasome, and metalloprotease disintegrins, have been implicated in JP, three families of multipass membrane proteases (MpMPs) have now been shown to carry out IP. Recent studies of events mediated by IP and JP indicate that they regulate key cellular signaling events including pathways involved in sterol regulation, cell fate selection, and growth regulation. Moreover, IP and JP have important roles in certain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Because some of the proteases mediating IP and JP can be selectivity inhibited, inhibitors targeting these proteases are likely to alter both physiologic and pathologic events triggered by IP and JP.

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