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.

Related Articles


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 October 30, 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) — Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) — Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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