Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New group of proteins identified in brains of Alzheimer's patients

Date:
June 13, 2012
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have identified a novel group of proteins that accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. These findings may open up novel approaches to diagnose and stage the progression likelihood of the disease in Alzheimer's patients.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified a novel group of proteins that accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. These findings, which appear online in the Journal of Neuroscience, may open up novel approaches to diagnose and stage the progression likelihood of the disease in Alzheimer patients.

Alzheimer's disease is presumed to be caused by the accumulation of β-amyloid, which then induces aggregation of a neuronal protein, called tau, and neurodegeneration ensues. The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease focuses on β-amyloid and tau protein, with much attention focusing on radiolabeled markers that bind to β-amyloid (such as the compound PiB). However, imaging β-amyloid is problematic because many cognitively normal elderly have large amounts of β-amyloid in their brain, and appear as "positives" in the imaging tests.

Therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer's disease generally have focused on β-amyloid because the process of producing a neurofibrillary tangle composed on tau protein has been poorly understood. Hence, few tau therapies have been developed. According to the researchers, this study makes important advances on both of these fronts.

The BUSM researchers identified a new group of proteins, termed RNA-binding proteins, which accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and are present at much lower levels in subjects who are cognitively intact. The group found two different proteins, both of which show striking patterns of accumulation. "Proteins such as TIA-1 and TTP, accumulate in neurons that accumulate tau protein, and co-localize with neurofibrillary tangles. These proteins also bind to tau, and so might participate in the disease process," explained senior author Benjamin Wolozin, MD, PhD, a professor in the departments of pharmacology and neurology at BUSM. "A different RNA binding protein, G3BP, accumulates primarily in neurons that do not accumulate pathological tau protein. This observation is striking because it shows that neurons lacking tau aggregates (and neurofibrillary tangles) are also affected by the disease process," he added.

The researchers believe this work opens up novel approaches to diagnose and stage the likelihood of progression by quantifying the levels of these RNA-binding protein biomarkers that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Wolozin's group also pursued the observation that some of the RNA binding proteins bind to tau protein, and tested whether one of these proteins, TIA-1, might contribute to the disease process. Previously, scientists have demonstrated that TIA-1 spontaneously aggregates in response to stress as a normal part of the stress response. Wolozin and his colleagues hypothesize that since TIA-1 binds tau, it might stimulate tau aggregation during the stress response. They introduced TIA-1 into neurons with tau protein, and subjected the neurons to stress. Consistent with their hypothesis, tau spontaneously aggregated in the presence of TIA-1, but not in the absence. Thus, the group has potentially identified an entirely novel mechanism to induce tau aggregates de novo. In future work, the group hopes to use this novel finding to understand how neurofibrillary tangles for in Alzheimer's disease and to screen for novel compounds that might inhibit the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Funding for this study was provided by grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Institute on Aging).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Vanderweyde, H. Yu, M. Varnum, L. Liu-Yesucevitz, A. Citro, T. Ikezu, K. Duff, B. Wolozin. Contrasting Pathology of the Stress Granule Proteins TIA-1 and G3BP in Tauopathies. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; 32 (24): 8270 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1592-12.2012

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "New group of proteins identified in brains of Alzheimer's patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102428.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2012, June 13). New group of proteins identified in brains of Alzheimer's patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102428.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "New group of proteins identified in brains of Alzheimer's patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102428.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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