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Scripps Research study points to liver, not brain, as origin of Alzheimer's plaques
Date:3/3/2011

on naturally occurring, inherited differences in neurological disease susceptibility among different mouse strains, creating extensive databases cataloging gene activity in different tissues, as measured by mRNA accumulation. These data offer up maps of trait expression that can be superimposed on maps of disease modifier genes.

As is the case with nearly all scientific discovery, Sutcliffe's research builds on previous findings. Several years ago, researchers at Case Western Reserve mapped three genes that modify the accumulation of pathological beta amyloid in the brains of a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease to large chromosomal regions, each containing hundreds of genes. The Case Western scientists used crosses between the B6 and D2 strains of mice, studying more than 500 progeny.

Using the results from this study, Sutcliffe turned his databases of gene expression to the mouse model of Alzheimer's, looking for differences in gene expression that correlated with differences in disease susceptibility between the B6 and D2 strains. This intensive work involved writing computer programs that identified each genetic difference that distinguished the B6 and D2 genomes, then running mathematical correlation analysis (known as regression analysis) of each difference. Correlations were made between the genotype differences (B6 or D2) and the amount of mRNA product made from each of the more than 25,000 genes in a particular tissue in the 40 recombinant inbred mouse strains. These correlations were repeated 10 times to cover 10 tissues, the liver being one of them.

"A key aspect of this work was learning how to ask questions of massive data sets to glean information about the identities of heritable modifier genes," Sutcliffe said. "This was novel and, in a sense, groundbreaking work: we were inventing a new way to identify modifier genes, putting all of these steps together and automating the process. We realized we could learn
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Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
858-784-2052
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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