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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Study On Proteins Related To Alzheimer’s

October 17, 2009

The cause, or at least one of the possible causes, of memory loss amongst Alzheimer sufferers is related to the location of certain proteins.

The aim of this University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) PhD thesis was to analyze the location of certain proteins related to Alzheimer´s. The author of the thesis was Ms Naroa Anabitarte Gonzalez and her work is entitled, Alzheimer gaixotasunarekin erlazionatutako proteinen ultraegitura mailako kokapena baldintza fisiologikoetan: APP eta PS1 arratoi helduen hipokanpoan (Ultrastructural location of the proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease: APP and PS1 in the hyperfield of mature rats).

A number of studies were undertaken on the proteolysis of the APP protein and on the location of this process in the interior of the cell. It is not yet very clear where this proteolysis or rupture occurs. In this vein, with the help of an electronic microscope, Ms Anabitarte studied the location of the proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease (APP and PS1) in the region of the plasma membrane

To this end, she employed a number of antibodies capable of recognizing fragments of APP protein. She also used another antibody in order to analyze the location of the PS1 protein. According to the results, both are found in large concentrations in the membranes of the synapses. These results coincide with those from the other groups, given that they situate the APP and PS1 proteins in the synapses. Synapses are involved in the process of communication between neurones. Synaptic plasticity is the property arising from the nature and functioning of neurones when these make communication with each other. All memory and learning processes are based on the mentioned property. In order for synaptic plasticity to occur, a number of molecules have to participate, and the APP protein is one of the most important. To this end, it is important to know how and when the rupture or proteolysis of this protein occurs.

Depending on the enzymes taking part in the proteolysis of the APP protein, different fragments are formed. One of the most important enzymes taking part in this process is Presenilin-1 (PS1). The fragments formed have different functions and some of these may have deleterious consequences. Thus, according to the author of the thesis, it is of utmost importance to know how proteolysis occurs, given that this is directly related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms Naroa Anabitarte Gonzalez (Tolosa, 1979) has a degree in Biochemistry. The directors of the PhD thesis were Ms Izaskun Elezgarai Gabantxo and Mr Pedro Grandes Moreno, of the Department of Neurosciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology of the UPV/EHU. Currently, Ms Anabitarte is working as a researcher at this University Department.

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