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'Alzheimer protein' seems to slow down neurotransmitter production
Date:8/21/2012

How abnormal protein deposits in the brains of Alzheimer's patients disrupt the signalling between nerve cells has now been reported by researchers in Bochum and Munich, led by Dr. Thorsten Mller from the Medizinisches Proteom-Center of the Ruhr-Universitt, in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics. They varied the amount of APP protein and related proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease in cell cultures, and then analysed how this manipulation affected other proteins in the cell. The result: the amount of APP present was related to the amount of an enzyme that is essential for the production of neurotransmitters and therefore for communication amongst nerve cells.

Proteomics: analysing all the proteins of the cells at once

Amyloid plaques are a characteristic feature of Alzheimer's disease. They consist largely of cleavage products of the so-called amyloid precursor protein APP, which occur in excess in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. What role APP plays in healthy people and why the abnormal accumulation of amyloid disrupts the regular functioning of the brain is still largely unclear. To understand the function of APP, the RUB researchers established a new cell model. The new cells produced only a very small amount of APP. What impact this had on all the other proteins of these cells was examined by the researchers through the use of mass spectrometry, among other things. With this method they identified over 2000 proteins and determined their concentrations. They were looking specifically for molecules whose concentrations in the newly established low-APP cells were different than in the reference cells that contained normal amounts of APP.

Abnormal protein able to curb neurotransmitter production

"One candidate has particularly caught our attention, this being the enzyme methionine adenosyltransferase II, alpha, MAT2A for short", Thorsten Mller said. Among other things, the enzyme is
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Contact: Dr. Thorsten Mller
thorsten.t.mueller@rub.de
49-234-322-9265
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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