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; firstname.lastname@example.org, +46-18 471 40 55
Pressofficer Carin Wrange: +46-70 247 84 22; Carin.Wrange@adm.slu.se
Carin Wrange | idw
Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences