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

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.


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

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