Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alzheimer's Protein Characterised

12.12.2011
Clarification of the role of a specific protein fragment that forms toxic clumps and damages the brain could lead to therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease

The brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease contain protein aggregates called plaques and tangles, which interfere with normal communication between nerve cells and cause progressive learning and memory deficits. Now, a research team led by Takaomi Saido from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako has identified a particular fragment of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) that contributes to the formation of plaques in the brain1.

Enzymes cut APP to form shorter protein fragments and, in Alzheimer's patients, these sticky fragments clump together to form amyloid plaques. Most current research on this disease focuses on a 42 amino acid-long fragment called Aâ42, in part because other researchers had shown that APP mutations that increase Aâ42 cause Alzheimer's disease in some families. Other APP fragments are also found in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer's disease, but their role in disease was unclear.

Saido and colleagues studied a 43 amino acid-long fragment called Aâ43 because other groups have shown that it can form aggregates as readily as Aâ42 (Fig. 1). The researchers generated mice that have a mutation in the presenilin-1 gene that contributes to the cleavage of APP, and showed that it led to increased formation of Aâ43 in cell culture experiments.

The research team then mated these presenilin-1 mutant mice to APP mutant mice, which display many symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, such as deposition of plaques in the brain and a gradual loss of memory. APP mutant mice generally exhibit plaque formation at one year of age. However, with the increase in Aâ43 caused by the presence of the presenilin-1 mutation, these so-called 'double-mutant mice' had plaques in their brain six months earlier than usual. The double-mutant mice also seemed to show memory deficits at an even earlier age than APP mutant mice. Furthermore, the research team showed that Aâ43 is even more prone to aggregate and to cause neuronal damage than is Aâ42.

The findings therefore suggest that Aâ43 plays a role in accelerating Alzheimer's disease. Saido and colleagues argue that therapies that specifically prevent Aâ43 accumulation, such as by enhancing the cleavage of Aâ43 into shorter Aâ fragments, or by stimulating the immune system to clear Aâ43, could therefore be beneficial in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

“Aâ43 could also be a diagnostic marker for Alzheimer's disease,” explains Takashi Saito, the first author of the study. “We would now like to develop it along these lines.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht X-ray experiments reveal two different types of water
27.06.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>