Presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 (PS2) are homologous genes encoding integral membrane proteins. Mutations in the PS genes are linked to familial Alzheimer`s disease. Presenilins (PSs) appear to be involved in such cellular processes as Notch signalling and β-amyloid production. PSs are also implicated in cell death. This review focuses on the biological roles of PSs in cell death. A number of recent studies are suggestive of the functional involvement of normal and mutant PSs in apoptosis or other cell death mechanisms. Such cellular roles of PSs may be relevant to the neurodegeneration caused by PS mutations.
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