New insight into Alzheimer's disease pathology

May 4, 2009

An Alzheimer's-related protein helps form and maintain nerve cell connections, according to a study published in the May 4 print issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

The , called presenilin, is mutated in many cases of inherited . Although the inherited form of Alzheimer's is relatively rare, researchers hope that by studying the function of the protein, they will glean insights into the pathology of the more common non-inherited form of the disease. Presenilin is known to form part of an enzyme complex called gamma secretase, which sits in cell membranes and chops up other proteins. Inoue et al have found a new target of gamma secretase, a protein called EphA4.

The product of EphA4 cleavage drove the formation and maintenance of dendritic spines - the nerve cell's receivers for transmitted signals. These results fit with a growing hypothesis that failing nerve transmission might be an early step in the pathology of Alzheimer's.

More information: Inoue, E., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200809151.

Source: Rockefeller University (news : web)

Explore further: How neuronal activity leads to Alzheimer's protein cleavage

Related Stories

How neuronal activity leads to Alzheimer's protein cleavage

October 20, 2008

Amyloid precursor protein (APP), whose cleavage product, amyloid-b (Ab), builds up into fibrous plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, jumps from one specialized membrane microdomain to another to be cleaved, ...

Laminin builds the neuromuscular synapse

September 15, 2008

Like a plug and a socket, a nerve and a muscle fiber mesh at the neuromuscular junction. New work by Nishimune et al published in the Journal of Cell Biology reveals that an extracellular matrix protein called laminin shapes ...

Lipid droplets lead a Spartin existence

March 23, 2009

Spartin, a protein linked to the neuronal disease Troyer syndrome, was thought to function in endocytosis. In the March 23, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, Eastman et al. identify an unexpected role for Spartin ...

Recommended for you

Ten months in the air without landing

October 27, 2016

Common swifts are known for their impressive aerial abilities, capturing food and nest material while in flight. Now, by attaching data loggers to the birds, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.