Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gladstone scientists prove neurons produce Alzheimer’s-linked apolipoprotein E

11.05.2006


Unique mouse model helps solve protein mystery



A question long debated among Alzheimer’s disease researchers has been definitively answered by scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in San Francisco.

Using a unique mouse model, Gladstone Investigator Yadong Huang, MD, PhD, and his team have proven that, under certain conditions, neurons produce Alzheimer’s-linked apolipoprotein E.


Also known as apoE, this cholesterol-carrying protein has three common forms, one of which, apoE4, is the major known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, according to studies published around the world in recent years. Until now, most researchers have believed that apoE is synthesized in the brain solely in such cells as astrocytes, microglia, and ependymal layer cells. Controversial for the last decade has been the question of whether or not neurons, which make thought and memory possible by transmitting electrical signals, can produce apoE.

The Gladstone study, published in the May 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience and highlighted in its "This Week in the Journal" section, proves that neurons, too, produce apoE, but only in response to injury to the brain.

Key to the finding has been the development of a mouse model that is uniquely capable of alerting researchers whenever and wherever the apoE gene is expressed. Huang and his team have succeeded in making one of the two alleles of the apoE gene produce a green fluorescent protein that represents apoE, while the remaining allele functions normally. Thus, under a microscope, the bright green fluorescence, dubbed EGFPapoE, shows researchers wherever the apoE gene is expressed.

"This study lays to rest a long-standing controversy concerning the neuronal expression of apoE," says senior author Huang, an assistant professor of pathology and neurology at UCSF. "Our study proves clearly that neurons produce apoE in response to injury. They support the notion that an understanding of how apoE expression is regulated in neurons is important for unraveling the mechanisms underlying apoE4-related neurodegenerative disorders."

"ApoE expression can be detected with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution in these mice," explains Qin Xu, PhD, a Gladstone postdoctoral scholar and first author of the paper. "This mouse model, known as the ’EGFP knock-in,’ is a new and extremely promising approach to monitor gene expression in vivo." "Our EGFPapoE reporter mice can be used to track apoE expression in any tissue at any stage of development," adds Huang. "They will be a valuable tool for investigating the normal functions of apoE and the regulatory mechanisms that govern its expression."

Still to be determined is the exact mechanism by which apoE4 wreaks havoc on the brain, playing roles not only in Alzheimer’s disease but also in a number of other neurological diseases. Studies in Huang’s lab have revealed a possible scenario. It appears that apoE in neurons is subject to processing by an enzyme that clips off a portion of the protein, resulting in toxic fragments that escape the secretory pathway and enter the cytosol (the fluid portion of a cell’s cytoplasm). Studies now underway at Gladstone and elsewhere indicate that those fragments may interfere with glucose metabolism in the mitochondria (small intracellular organelles responsible for energy production, among other functions), leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal cell death.

The paper, "Profile and Regulation of Apolipoprotein (Apo) E Expression in Central Nervous System in Mice with Targeting of Green Fluorescent Protein Gene to the apoE Locus," was authored by Aubrey Bernardo, David Walker, and Tiffany Kanegawa of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, Gladstone Institutes President Robert W. Mahley, and Xu and Huang. This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Heath and a postdoctoral fellowship from the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation.

John Watson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gladstone.ucsf.edu
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>