Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gladstone study links Alzheimer’s with toxic protein fragments

16.12.2005


New research from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease details exactly how a mutant form of the protein apolipoprotein E, also known as apoE, is a causative factor for Alzheimer’s disease.



It pinpoints mitochondria, the organelles within cells designed to turn glucose into energy, as a key site that specific fragments of a particular form of apoE attack, leading to the neuronal death characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The findings are published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, in advance of publication in the December 20, 2005, issue of PNAS.


According to Gladstone Assistant Investigator Yadong Huang, MD, PhD, who headed the study, it has been known for several years that a correlation exists between lowered glucose metabolism and the presence in the brain of a mutant form of a protein that transports cholesterol.

Scientists have been unable to determine if this mutant protein actually interferes with the ability of neurons to make use of glucose in the brain, but they have theorized that such an inability to access glucose might kill off crucial brain cells, causing AD symptoms.

The devastating effects of AD are well known: progressive and inexorable loss of cognitive function that erases memories, extinguishes personality, and robs people of their ability to think, reason and carry out the activities of everyday life. Despite intensive efforts to identify the underlying causes, and considerable progress in unraveling the web of contributing factors, the pathogenesis of AD remains tantalizingly elusive, and a cure is still out of reach, says Huang.

Seeking answers to a fundamental question in AD research on what actually causes brain cells to die in affected patients, Huang and his scientific team pursued a particularly promising avenue of research over the last few years. Their efforts focused on apoE, a protein comprised of 299 amino acids whose apoE4 isoform has been known for the last decade to be the most significant genetic risk factor for AD.

"Several years ago, we found that apoE is subject to cleavage that results in fragments that are toxic to neurons," says Huang, who also is assistant professor of pathology and neurology at UC San Francisco. "This study shows which parts of apoE are toxic and gives hints as to the site of its action."

The research team investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the neurotoxicity caused by apoE4 fragments, performing a series of studies in cultured mouse neuronal cells. The cells expressed apoE fragments of various lengths and with mutations designed to enable the investigators to determine precisely which portions of the fragment--that is, which of apoE4’s 299 amino acids--are responsible for its detrimental effects.

Research findings showed that fragments containing both the lipid- and receptor-binding regions, but lacking the C-terminal 27 amino acids (273-299), were found to be neurotoxic. The toxic fragments appear in the mitochondria, where they impaired membrane integrity and mitochondrial function.

"Blocking interaction of apoE4 fragments with the mitochondria is a potential new strategy for inhibiting the detrimental effects of apoE4 in AD and other neurological diseases," Huang explains.

"Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition," says co-author Robert W. Mahley, MD, PhD, president of the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF professor of pathology and medicine. "Many factors seem to be involved, and all need to be explored to help us find a way to combat this terrible disease. We are very excited about these particular results because they point to a new and potentially valuable therapeutic strategy."

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

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

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...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

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...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

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.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>