Navigation Links
How problems with an Alzheimer's protein can jam up traffic in the brain
Date:10/28/2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. Scientists have known for some time that a protein called presenilin plays a role in Alzheimer's disease, and a new study reveals one intriguing way this happens.

It has to do with how materials travel up and down brain cells, which are also called neurons.

In an Oct. 8 paper in Human Molecular Genetics, University at Buffalo researchers report that presenilin works with an enzyme called GSK-3 to control how fast materials like proteins needed for cell survival move through the cells.

"If you have too much presenilin or too little, it disrupts the activity of GSK-3, and the transport of cargo along neurons becomes uncoordinated," says lead researcher Shermali Gunawardena, PhD, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UB. "This can lead to dangerous blockages."

More than 150 mutations of presenilin have been found in Alzheimer's patients, and scientists have previously shown that the protein, when defective, can cause neuronal blockages by snipping another protein into pieces that accumulate in brain cells.

But this well-known mechanism isn't the only way presenilin fuels disease, as Gunawardena's new study shows.

"Our work elucidates how problems with presenilin could contribute to early problems observed in Alzheimer's disease," she says. "It highlights a potential pathway for early intervention through drugs prior to neuronal loss and clinical manifestations of disease."

The study suggests that presenilin activates GSK-3. This is an important finding because the enzyme helps control the speed at which tiny, organic bubbles called vesicles ferry cargo along neuronal highways. (You can think of vesicles as trucks, each powered by little molecular motors called dyneins and kinesins.)

When researchers lowered the amount of presenilin in the neurons of fruit fly larvae, less GSK-3 became activated and vesicles began speeding along cells in an uncontrolled manner.

Decreasing levels of both presenilin and GSK-3 at once made things worse, resulting in "traffic jams" as the bubbles got stuck in neurons.

"Both GSK-3 and presenilin have been shown to be involved in Alzheimer's disease, but how they are involved has not always been clear," Gunawardena says. "Our research provides new insight into this question."

Gunawardena proposes that GSK-3 short for glycogen synthase kinase-3beta acts as an "on switch" for dynein and kynesin motors, telling them when to latch onto vesicles.

Dyneins carry vesicles toward the cell nucleus, while kinesins move in the other direction, toward the periphery of the cell. When all is well and GSK-3 levels are normal, both types of motors bind to vesicles in carefully calibrated numbers, resulting in smooth traffic flow along neurons.

That's why it's so dangerous when GSK-3 levels are off-kilter, she says.

When GSK-3 levels are high, too many motors attach to the vesicles, leading to slow movement as motor activity loses coordination. Low GSK-3 levels appear to have the opposite effect, causing fast, uncontrolled movement as too few motors latch onto vesicles.

Both scenarios too much GSK-3 or too little can result in neuronal blockages.


'/>"/>

Contact: Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
2. Could cap and trade for water solve problems facing the United States largest rivers?
3. Child welfare investigation predicts mental health problems in young children
4. BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill exacerbated existing environmental problems in Louisiana marshes
5. Childhood obesity may affect timing of puberty, create problems with reproduction
6. Hyenas that think outside the box solve problems faster
7. Study implicates marijuana use in pregnancy problems
8. Ornamental fish industry faces increasing problems with antibiotic resistance
9. Health and law expert: NFL not alone in handling concussions as benign problems
10. Getting to the root of horseradish root problems
11. Down syndrome neurons grown from stem cells show signature problems
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
How problems with an Alzheimer's protein can jam up traffic in the brain
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative high ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller ... (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient ... Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this week. ... among health care professionals to enhance the patient care experience ... and other health care professionals to help women who have ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, ... today. The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, ... significant growth period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics ... from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected ... for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells ... Program highlights the need to accelerate development of approaches ... "New techniques for measuring levels ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its ... Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has ... was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental ...
Breaking Biology Technology: