In animals, gamma-secretase is crucial for regulation of important developmental processes. Here, we show that genes encoding components of this complex are present in Arabidopsis, and the complex undergoes complicated assembly in the endomembrane system. This complex may have some role in autophagy.
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.