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Highlights of the Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting
Date:2/6/2012

disarmed protein could still kill. The finding may one day help scientists searching for new, more targeted, ways to kill antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Presentation 3217-Pos, "Targeted killing of Escherichia coli by an unfolded protein," is at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Taking Back the Brain: New targets of Alzheimer's disease treatment: A promising novel target for potentially treating Alzheimer's disease has been identified in mouse experiments by a team at the University of California-Davis. The team's focus is on controlling cells in the brain known to be major inflammatory agents. These cells, called microglia, are activated by toxic beta amyloid proteins that accumulate as plaques in the brain and disrupt neuronal function, and they are major players in the initiation and progression of Alzheimer's disease. To turn off the microglia, and therefore stop their neurotoxic effects, the UC Davis team blocked the flow of potassium ions through a voltage-gated potassium channel on the microglia membrane. Results showed that the blocker inhibited plaque-induced microglia activation and the toxicity associated with it, but that it did not interfere with the useful "housecleaning" tasks that microglia perform. "Our observations raise the exciting possibility that potassium channel blockers might preferentially inhibit the action of microglia related to killing neurons without affecting the beneficial functions associated with them, as such as scavenging of debris," explains UC Davis' David P. Jenkins, first author of the study.

Presentation 3443-Pos, "Microglial KV1.3 channels as a potential target for Alzheimer's disease," is at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29.


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Contact: Ellen Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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