Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Emory scientists contribute to study of key regulatory protein in neurodegeneration


A multi-institutional team of scientists has gained important new knowledge about the regulatory role played in Alzheimer’s disease by Pin1, a protein that coaxes other proteins into untwisting. The research is published in the July 31 issue of Nature.

The team of researchers, including a group from the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine, examined slices of brain and found an inverse relationship between the abundance of Pin1 and both the susceptibility of neurons to degenerative damage and the amount of protein tangles. They also found that mice with an artificial disruption of Pin1 develop a neurodegenerative disease that resembles Alzheimer’s.

Lead authors are Drs. Yih-cherng Liou, Anyang Sun, and Kun Ping Lu from Harvard Medical School. Xiaojiang Li, PhD and Zhao-Xue Yu, PhD from Emory School of Medicine studied the degeneration in the brains of Pin1-deficient mice using electron microscopy and immunogold staining. Scientists from the University of Kentucky, the Salk Institute, and Tufts University also contributed to the study.

Scientists studying Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases resemble detectives poring over a crime scene in a mystery novel. They have identified a couple of suspicious individuals––proteins that form disruptive tangles and knots in the brain. The detectives can piece together how the crime was committed, but they still have questions about some characters standing in the shadows. They want to know not only how, but why.

In Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau form aggregated tangles in the brain: APP outside and between cells, tau within the neurons. "It is clear that both proteins play a role in the Alzheimer’s disease mechanism, but there is some disagreement about which one is more important," says Dr. Li.

Pin1, part of a class of enzymes called prolyl isomerases, is known to regulate many proteins critical for cell division. Pin1 twists the joints of proteins in specific creaky places, allowing them to change shape. However, it previously was unclear whether Pin1 helped to promote or prevent tangles. Dr. Lu’s laboratory at Harvard had the opportunity to examine the situation in the living brain using Pin1-deficient mice. They had previously found that Pin1 is necessary for proper development of the retina and mammary glands.

Dr. Li’s group joined the effort to analyze the Pin1-deficient brains in a way that was complementary to the biochemical methods used by the Harvard group. They found that the Pin-1-negative mice had degenerating neurons similar to those in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Li says it is also important to investigate the connection between Pin1 and APP, which clogs up the brain outside the neurons in Alzheimer’s disease. "The access of many enzymes to tau and APP could be regulated by Pin1," he says. "And Pin1 regulates many proteins, not just tau and APP. This research is really at the crossroads." Dr. Li hypothesizes that Pin1 loss of function could contribute to other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington disease.

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>