29 January 2008

Research on Alzheimer's molecule

Penn researchers find that Alzheimer’s molecule is a smart speed bump on the nerve-cell transport highway
Penn Medicine: 17 January 2008
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that proteins carrying chemical cargo in nerve cells react differently when exposed to the tau protein, which plays an important role in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dynein and kinesin proteins transport cellular cargo towards opposite ends of tracks called microtubules. Tau binds to the microtubule surface and acts like a speed bump to regulate protein traffic, the group found. “But it is a smart speed bump because it impedes these different motor proteins to different degrees,” explains first author Ram Dixit…. > full story

Comments from Alzheimer's Australia Research Officer, Suzanne Dixon: This research is consistent with the theory that transport defects in the brain are responsible for much of the neurodegeneration seen in diseases like Alzheimer's and Huntington's, and strengthens the case for further research into tau as one of the main causes of Alzheimer-associated cognitive decline. (18 February 2008)

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