Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein Discovery May Lead To New Alzheimer's Drugs

Date:
September 7, 2000
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
An international team of researchers lead by the University of Toronto's Dr. Peter St. George-Hyslop have isolated a key protein involved in the degeneration of nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Sept. 7 issue of Nature.

An international team of researchers lead by the University of Toronto's Dr. Peter St. George-Hyslop have isolated a key protein involved in the degeneration of nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Sept. 7 issue of Nature.

"We've found a completely unknown protein that's involved in the biochemical processing of the beta-amyloid precursor protein which causes Alzheimer's disease," said lead author Professor Peter St. George-Hyslop, director of the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CRND) in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine and a neurologist at the University Health Network. "This opens the way for the development of drugs that will target the new protein to manipulate the process that leads to the disease."

St. George-Hyslop and his team named the new protein nicastrin after a small southern Italian village called Nicastro which played an important early role in the discovery of the two genes that cause aggressive early onset forms of Alzheimer's. The researchers isolated nicastrin when they were searching for proteins that adhere to the two proteins, presenilin 1 and presenilin 2, already known to be involved in Alzheimer's. "We set out to find new proteins which bind to the presenilin proteins because mutations in the presenilins cause Alzheimer's disease by inducing abnormal processing of the beta-amyloid precursor protein and the accumulation of a toxic derivative, amyloid beta-peptide, in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease," St. George-Hyslop said.

Until now, the exact mechanism by which presenilin mutations altered beta-amyloid precursor protein processing and caused Alzheimer's was unclear. The researchers soon found that nicastrin binds to the beta-amyloid precursor protein and regulates the production of the potentially dangerous amyloid beta-peptide fragment. "More importantly," St. George-Hyslop said, "we discovered a way to manipulate nicastrin to either increase or decrease the production of the harmful amyloid beta-peptide. This could lead to new treatments that will target nicastrin to prevent the overproduction of this neurotoxic protein."

"Nicastrin is clearly a very important component of the cellular machinery underlying Alzheimer's and has several features which suggest that it might be used as a target for the development of new drugs for this disease," said co-author Dr. Paul Fraser of the CRND.

It is not yet clear, St. George-Hyslop said, whether genetic variation in nicastrin is associated with an inherited susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease. In Canada, more than 200,000 people over age 65 have Alzheimer's disease and the Alzheimer Society of Canada estimates that more than 750,000 Canadians will have the disease and related dementias in 30 years. St. George-Hyslop and his research team received international acclaim in 1995 for the discovery of the presenilin genes responsible for the most severe forms of early-onset Alzheimer's. He is the recipient of the Medical Research Council's prestigious Michael Smith Award and was named to Maclean's magazine's 1998 Honor Roll.

Funding was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and other international agencies.

CONTACT:

Victoria Hadden, U of T Public Affairs, (416) 978-5948

Megan Easton, U of T Public Affairs, (416) 978-5949


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Protein Discovery May Lead To New Alzheimer's Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000906142704.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2000, September 7). Protein Discovery May Lead To New Alzheimer's Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000906142704.htm
University Of Toronto. "Protein Discovery May Lead To New Alzheimer's Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000906142704.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. 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:
from the past week

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