Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A new strategy required in the search for Alzheimer's drugs?

Date:
May 24, 2013
Source:
VIB
Summary:
In the search for medication against Alzheimer's disease, scientists have focused on -- among other factors -- drugs that can break down Amyloid beta (A-beta). After all, it is the accumulation of A-beta that causes the known plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The starting point for the formation of A-beta is APP.

In the search for medication against Alzheimer's disease, scientists have focused on -- among other factors -- drugs that can break down Amyloid beta (A-beta). After all, it is the accumulation of A-beta that causes the known plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The starting point for the formation of A-beta is APP. Alessia Soldano and Bassem Hassan (VIB/KU Leuven) were the first to unravel the function of APPL -- the fruit-fly version of APP -- in the brain of healthy fruit flies.

Alessia Soldano (VIB/KU Leuven): "We have discovered that APPL ensures that brain cells form a good network. We now have to ask ourselves the question whether this function of APPL is also relevant to Alzheimer's disease."

Bassem Hassan (VIB/KU Leuven): "Since we show that APP and APPL show similar activities in cultured cells, we suspect that APP in the human brain functions in the same manner as APPL in the brain of fruit flies. Hopefully we can use this to ask and eventually answer the question whether A-beta or APP itself is the better target for new drugs."

Plaques in the brain: cause or effect

The brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease is very recognizable due to the so-called plaques. A plaque is an accumulation of proteins that are primarily made up of Amyloid beta (A-beta), a small structure that splits off from the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). We have been dreaming for a long time of a drug that can break down A-beta, but we should be asking ourselves whether this is really the best strategy. After all, it is not yet clear whether the plaques are a cause or effect of Alzheimer's disease. In order to answer this question, it is important to determine the function of APP in healthy brains.

Optimum communication between brain cells

Alessia Soldano and Bassem Hassan study APPL, the fruit-fly version of APP. APPL is found throughout the fruit-fly brain, but primarily in the so-called alpha-beta neurons that are vital to learning processes and memory. The alpha-beta neurons must form functional axons for optimum functioning. Axons are tendrils projecting from the neuron, which are essential for communication between neurons. The VIB scientists had previously shown that APPL is important for memory in flies. Now, they have discovered that -- in the developing brain of a fruit fly -- APPL ensures that the axons are long enough and grow in the correct direction. APPL is therefore essential in the formation of a good network of neurons. The question is whether or not it is a good strategy to target a protein with such an important function in the brain in order to combat Alzheimer's disease.


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. Alessia Soldano, Zeynep Okray, Pavlina Janovska, Kateřina Tmejovα, Elodie Reynaud, Annelies Claeys, Jiekun Yan, Zeynep Kalender Atak, Bart De Strooper, Jean-Maurice Dura, Vνtězslav Bryja, Bassem A. Hassan. The Drosophila Homologue of the Amyloid Precursor Protein Is a Conserved Modulator of Wnt PCP Signaling. PLoS Biology, 2013; 11 (5): e1001562 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001562
  2. Richard Robinson. An Axonal Growth Pathway Requires an Alzheimer's Protein. PLoS Biology, 2013; 11 (5): e1001559 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001559

Cite This Page:

VIB. "A new strategy required in the search for Alzheimer's drugs?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104058.htm>.
VIB. (2013, May 24). A new strategy required in the search for Alzheimer's drugs?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104058.htm
VIB. "A new strategy required in the search for Alzheimer's drugs?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104058.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — A new study shows stress at work can be hard on your health, but people who are unemployed might be at even greater risk of health problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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