Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) and colleagues have identified a novel mouse gene (Rps23r1) that reduces the accumulation of two toxic proteins that are major players in Alzheimer's disease: amyloid beta and tau.
The amyloid and tau lowering functions of this gene were demonstrated in both human and mouse cells. Amyloid beta is responsible for the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Tau causes the tangles found within patients' brain cells. The study was published in the journal Neuron on November 12. These findings could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists throughout the world are searching for ways to reduce the levels of these two proteins as a means of treating Alzheimer's, so finding a gene that can control the amount of both proteins is particularly important. Overproduction of amyloid beta and its accumulation within senile plaques in the brain and the formation of abnormal tau tangles (neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein) are major causes of disrupted brain function in Alzheimer's disease.
Hauxi Xu, Ph.D., professor and acting director of the Neurodegenerative Disease Research program at Burnham, collaborated with Nobel laureate Paul Greengard, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University, Stanley Cohen, Ph.D., of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine, Limin Li, Ph.D., of Functional Genetics, Inc., and with researchers from Xiamen University, to demonstrate that the RPS23R1 protein, which is encoded by the gene, triggers a signaling pathway within brain cells that inhibits a protein called GSK-3 (glycogen synthase kinase-3), which regulates both amyloid beta generation and tau phosphorylation (required for tangle formation).
The team also found that the Rps23r1 gene, whose human counterpart has not yet been identified, was created through a process called retroposition, in which a gene is duplicated through the reverse transcription (or reading) of mRNA and the duplicate is placed in a different location in the cell's DNA. Although most retroposition events result in non-functional duplicates (called pseudogenes) , in rare cases, retroposed genes, like Rps23r1, can become functional.
"From the point of view of treating Alzheimer's disease, if we can express the mouse gene in human brain cells, we may be able to control the buildup of amyloid beta and tau neurofibrillary tangles," said Dr. Xu. "From an evolutionary point of view, we have found an example of a retroposed gene that took on a completely new function."
Dr. Xu and colleagues used a technology called random homozygous gene perturbation to search for genes that regulate amyloid beta generation. This allowed the team to identify the Rps23r1 gene and found that the RPS23R1 protein it encodes can interact with a protein called adenylate cyclase that stimulates a second protein called protein kinase A, which inhibits GSK-3 activity. The effects of RPS23R1 on reducing amyloid beta levels and tau phosphorylation were corroborated in a transgenic Alzheimer's disease mouse model. The team subsequently determined that Rps23r1 is a reverse-transcribed version of the mouse ribosomal protein S23 (Rps23) gene, which is nearly identical to the human Rps23 gene.
About Burnham Institute for Medical Research
Burnham Institute for Medical Research is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Burnham, with operations in California and Florida, is one of the fastest-growing research institutes in the country. The institute ranks among the top four institutions nationally for NIH grant funding and among the top organizations worldwide for its research impact. For the past decade (1999-2009), Burnham ranked first worldwide in the fields of biology and biochemistry for the impact of its research publications (defined by citations per publication), according to the Institute for Scientific Information.
Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Burnham is a nonprofit public benefit corporation.
Josh Baxt | EurekAlert!
The world's tiniest first responders
21.06.2018 | University of Southern California
A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå
21.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
21.06.2018 | Life Sciences
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences