Presenilin/γ-secretase cleaves CD46 in response to Neisseria infection

Nathan J. Weyand, Christine M. Calton, Dustin L. Higashi, Kristen J. Kanack, Magdalene So

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


CD46 is a type I transmembrane protein with complement and T cell regulatory functions in human cells. CD46 has signaling and receptor properties in immune and nonimmune cells, many of which are dependent on the expression of cytoplasmic tail (cyt) isoforms cyt1 or cyt2. Little is known about how cyt1 and cyt2 mediate cellular responses. We show that CD46-cyt1 and CD46-cyt2 are substrates for presenilin/γ-secretase (PS/γS), an endogenous protease complex that regulates many important signaling proteins through proteolytic processing. PS/γS processing of CD46 releases immunoprecipitable cyt1 and cyt2 tail peptides into the cell, is blocked by chemical inhibitors, and is prevented in dominant negative presenilin mutant cell lines. Two human pathogens, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis, stimulate PS/γS processing of CD46-cyt1 and CD46-cyt2. This stimulation requires type IV pili and PilT, the type IV pilus retraction motor, implying that mechanotransduction plays a role in this event. We present a model for PS/γS processing of CD46 that provides a mechanism by which signals are transduced via the cyt1 and cyt2 tails to regulate CD46-dependent cellular responses. Our findings have broad implications for understanding the full range of CD46 functions in infection and noninfection situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-701
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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