Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Furthers Understanding Of Critical Alzheimer's Disease Gene

Date:
April 8, 1999
Source:
Nih-National Institute On Aging
Summary:
Researchers have cracked part of the code for an important gene function in familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD), an early-onset type of AD. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Working with cells in culture that had been altered to overexpress the amyloid precursor protein (APP), the researchers were able to document that expression of a mutant form of the presenilin-1 (PS-1) protein caused a significant reduction in the amount of amyloid formed.

Researchers have cracked part of the code for an important gene function in familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD), an early-onset type of AD. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Working with cells in culture that had been altered to overexpress the amyloid precursor protein (APP), the researchers were able to document that expression of a mutant form of the presenilin-1 (PS-1) protein caused a significant reduction in the amount of amyloid formed. This continuing study of the mechanisms of plaque formation, researchers believe, moves them ever closer to the possible development of novel drugs to intervene in the processes leading up to Alzheimer's dementia.

Naturally occurring mutations in PS-1 are found in about 40 percent of people with FAD. Previous studies have suggested that these inherited PS-1 gene mutations increase the amount of amyloid clipped out from the larger amyloid precursor protein, but no one could determine how that clipping occurred. Researchers named the elusive and not-well-understood enzyme that is involved in the clipping, gamma secretase. The current research suggests that either PS-1 may be the long sought gamma-secretase, or that PS-1 is essential for gamma secretase's ability to clip amyloid.

The study of mutated PS-1 protein was published in the April 8, 1999 issue of Nature by Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and the University of Tennessee, Memphis. Their work focuses on the chemical events that may lead to the development of brain damage and the symptoms of dementia. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), two components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded the study. In their search to explain why the amyloid fragments clump into plaques, which surround the brain cells of Alzheimer's disease patients, Dr. Selkoe's group gained an insight into the interaction of two key molecules involved in amyloid formation. When they altered the sequence of amino acids of the presenilin protein from the normal sequence in two critical locations, buried within the cell membrane, amyloid formation was reduced.

According to Dr. D. Stephen Snyder, who directs studies of the Etiology of Alzheimer's Disease at NIA's Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program, "These studies have implications for the treatment of AD and related disorders of amyloid accumulation. If this gamma-secretase finding proves true, it could lead to significant advances in therapeutics research by showing us how to intervene before plaques form."

###

The NIA is the lead federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer's disease research, including studies of the basic, clinical, and epidemiological aspects of this and other related dementias of aging. The NIA's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center can provide more information on Alzheimer's disease by calling 1-800-438-4380.

The NINDS is the nation's premier supporter of research on the brain and nervous system and a lead agency for the Congressionally designated Decade of the Brain. NINDS celebrates 50 years of brain and nervous system research in the year 2000.

Michael S. Wolfe, Weiming Xia, Beth L. Ostaszewski, Thekla S. Diehl, W. Taylor Kimberly, and Dennis J. Selkoe. Two transmembrane aspartates in presenilin-1 required for presenilin endoproteolysis and gamma-secretase activity. Nature, 398, (513-517).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Nih-National Institute On Aging. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Nih-National Institute On Aging. "Study Furthers Understanding Of Critical Alzheimer's Disease Gene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990408070952.htm>.
Nih-National Institute On Aging. (1999, April 8). Study Furthers Understanding Of Critical Alzheimer's Disease Gene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990408070952.htm
Nih-National Institute On Aging. "Study Furthers Understanding Of Critical Alzheimer's Disease Gene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990408070952.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins