They found that in test tube studies the molecule not only prevents the protein from forming clumps but can also reverse this process. Then, using fruit flies with Alzheimer's disease, they showed that the same molecule effectively "cures" the insects of the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder linked to protein misfolding and aggregation, or clumping. Previous studies in animal models have shown that clumping of a protein known as the Alzheimer beta (A-beta) peptide causes memory impairment and cognitive deficits similar to those in patients with Alzheimer's disease. When these clumps of protein are deposited in the brain they damage neurones (brain cells), although the mechanism involved is still not understood.
The new molecule - designed by scientists in Sweden - is a small protein known as an Affibody (an engineered binding protein). In this new study, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that in test-tube experiments this protein binds to the A-beta peptide, preventing it from forming clumps and breaking up any clumps already present.
In a second experiment, they studied the effect of this Affibody in a Drosophila (fruit fly) model of Alzheimer's disease previously developed at Cambridge. Working with fruit flies that develop the fly equivalent of Alzhiemer's because they have been genetically engineered to produce the Abeta protein, they crossed these flies with a second line of flies genetically engineered to produce the Affibody.
They found that offspring - despite producing the A-beta protein - did not develop Alzhiemer's.
"Flies are our first 'biological test bench'for this new type of medicine. We wanted to know if it was at all possible to prevent the effects of the A-beta protein in the brain of a living organism", says Professor Torleif Härd, SLU.
"But the results are positive and we think we now how this molecule can be further developed to function as a medicine, although it is not possible to say how long this will take, or if it is possible to treat patients who have already developed the disease. The next step will be performing tests on mice."
The research will continue in collaboration with KTH and the biotech enterprise Affibody AB, Stockholm. The study is published in PLoS Biology.
More information:Professor Torleif Härd, SLU; email@example.com, +46-18 471 40 55
Pressofficer Carin Wrange: +46-70 247 84 22; Carin.Wrange@adm.slu.se
Carin Wrange | idw
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy