Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests

Date:
July 2, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's could be better understood thanks to insight into proteins linked to such conditions, a study suggests.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's could be better understood thanks to insight into proteins linked to such conditions, a study suggests.

Scientists studying thread-like chains of protein -- called amyloid fibres -- have found that low levels of these proteins may cause more harm to health than high levels.

These rarely formed protein chains, which have been linked with dozens of diseases, are produced as a result of a genetic flaw or changes in body chemistry brought about by ageing.

When this happens, short fibres are formed which become sticky and attract copies of themselves, forming an endless chain. These chains spontaneously break, creating more filament ends to which more proteins attach.

In the context of neurodegenerative diseases, it is these short, broken pieces that seem to be most harmful, scientists say.

Researchers have found that when protein levels are low, lots of short protein threads are formed. But when protein levels are high, this spontaneous breakage stops and most protein filaments remain long.

Compared with harmful short protein fibres, long fibres do not appear to be damaging in the case of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers therefore believe that high levels of the protein -- which lead to these longer chains -- may actually be protective.

In addition to shedding light on disease, this insight into the protein chains may help scientists develop useful biomaterials, such as cell scaffolds, which are used for tissue engineering or to make artificial silk.

Cait MacPhee, Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, said; "We would expect that the higher the level of toxins, the worse the disease. However, in this study we found that the lower the level of the protein, the more of these damaging short fibres we see. Understanding how these protein chains form offers us insight not only into how diseases progress, but how we can produce controlled biomaterials for tissue engineering."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ryan J. Morris, Kym Eden, Reuben Yarwood, Line Jourdain, Rosalind J. Allen, Cait E. MacPhee. Mechanistic and environmental control of the prevalence and lifetime of amyloid oligomers. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1891 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2909

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, July 2). Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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