Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prion-like proteins drive several diseases of aging

Date:
September 5, 2013
Source:
Emory Health Sciences
Summary:
Two leading neurology researchers have proposed a theory that could unify scientists' thinking about several neurodegenerative diseases and suggest therapeutic strategies to combat them.

In Nature, Walker and Jucker describe how prion-like protein aggregates drive the progression of several neurodegenerative diseases. A. Amyloid-beta plaques in Alzheimers B. Neurofibrillary tangles (tau) in Alzheimer's C. Lewy bodies (alpha-synuclein) in Parkinson's D. TDP-43 inclusions in motor neurons in ALS
Credit: Image courtesy of Emory Health Sciences

Two leading neurology researchers have proposed a theory that could unify scientists' thinking about several neurodegenerative diseases and suggest therapeutic strategies to combat them.

The theory and backing for it are described in the September 5, 2013 issue of Nature.

Mathias Jucker and Lary Walker outline the emerging concept that many of the brain diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, are caused by specific proteins that misfold and aggregate into harmful seeds. These seeds behave very much like the pathogenic agents known as prions, which cause mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease in deer, scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Walker is research professor at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University. Jucker is head of the Department of Cellular Neurology at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research at the University of Tόbingen and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Unlike prion diseases, which can be infectious, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative diseases can not be passed from person to person under normal circumstances. Once all of these diseases take hold in the brain, however, it is increasingly apparent that the clumps of misfolded proteins spread throughout the nervous system and disrupt its function.

The authors were the first to show that a protein that is involved in Alzheimer's disease -- known as amyloid-beta -- forms prion-like seeds that stimulate the aggregation of other amyloid-beta molecules in senile plaques and in brain blood vessels. Since then, a growing number of laboratories worldwide have discovered that proteins linked to other neurodegenerative disorders also share key features with prions.

Age-related neurodegenerative disorders remain stubbornly resistant to the discovery of effective treatments. Jucker and Walker propose that the concept of pathogenic protein seeding not only could focus research strategies for these seemingly unrelated diseases, but it also suggests that therapeutic approaches designed to thwart prion-like seeds early in the disease process could eventually delay or even prevent the diseases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Mathias Jucker, Lary C. Walker. Self-propagation of pathogenic protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases. Nature, 2013; 501 (7465): 45 DOI: 10.1038/nature12481

Cite This Page:

Emory Health Sciences. "Prion-like proteins drive several diseases of aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134020.htm>.
Emory Health Sciences. (2013, September 5). Prion-like proteins drive several diseases of aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134020.htm
Emory Health Sciences. "Prion-like proteins drive several diseases of aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134020.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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