Peter Davies, PhD, head of the Feinstein Institute's Litwin-Zucker Center for Research in Alzheimer's Disease, became interested in c-Abl when he found that the protein was part of the plaques and tangles that crowd the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
The protein c-Abl is a tyrosine kinase involved in cell differentiation, cell division and cell adhesion. In patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), c-Abl is turned up in B cells. Inhibiting c-Abl with the cancer drug Gleevec prevents cell division. There was quite a lot known about c-Abl when Dr. Davies began thinking about its possible role in Alzheimer's. He was looking at kinases that phosphorylate tau, the protein that accumulates inside of the neurons during the disease process.
Dr. Davies questioned whether activated c-Abl turned on the cell cycle and could kill adult cells. He designed the study to test this idea and found that turning on the cell cycle in adult brain damages the cells. In their current study, the investigators devised a clever way to activate c-Abl in neurons of normal adult mice. They turned on human c-Abl genes in two different regions – the hippocampus and the neocortex – in adult mice and discovered abundant cell death, especially in the hippocampus. "You don't even need to count, you can just look and see holes in the cell layers of the hippocampus," said Dr. Davies. "It is stunning. Even before the neurons die, there is florid inflammation."
He said that the animal model is ideal for testing the benefit of drugs that turn off c-Abl. While Gleevec works in CML, it does not cross the blood-brain barrier so it would not be useful. Dr. Davies and his colleagues are looking for other drugs that inhibit c-Abl and can get into the brain. "We have a great model to test compounds for Alzheimer's disease. Will regulating c-Abl make a difference for patients? We won't know unless we try it in double blind clinical trials."
The researchers are now working to understand the mechanism of cell death. They are also investigating why males die considerably sooner than females – 12 to 15 weeks compared to 24 to 26 weeks. "It is an incredibly interesting model," said Dr. Davies. "If c-Abl is important we can learn how it works."
The paper detailing the findings has been published in an early online version. It is scheduled for publication in the June 14th issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (http://www.j-alz.com).
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, human genetics, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information: www.FeinsteinInstitute.org or www.feinsteininstitute.typepad.com
Jamie Talan | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences