[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 4-May-2009
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Rockefeller University Press

New insight into Alzheimer's disease pathology

An Alzheimer's-related protein helps form and maintain nerve cell connections, according to a study published in the May 4 print issue of the Journal of Cell Biology and online at www.jcb.org.

The protein, called presenilin, is mutated in many cases of inherited Alzheimer's disease. Although the inherited form of Alzheimer's is relatively rare, researchers hope that by studying the function of the protein, they will glean insights into the pathology of the more common non-inherited form of the disease. Presenilin is known to form part of an enzyme complex called gamma secretase, which sits in nerve cell membranes and chops up other proteins. Inoue et al have found a new target of gamma secretase, a protein called EphA4.

The product of EphA4 cleavage drove the formation and maintenance of dendritic spines the nerve cell's receivers for transmitted signals. These results fit with a growing hypothesis that failing nerve transmission might be an early step in the pathology of Alzheimer's.

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About the Journal of Cell Biology

Founded in 1955, the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) is published by the Rockefeller University Press. All editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted are made by active scientists in conjunction with our in-house scientific editors. JCB content is posted to PubMed Central, where it is available to the public for free six months after publication. Authors retain copyright of their published works and third parties may reuse the content for non-commercial purposes under a creative commons license. For more information, please visit www.jcb.org or visit the JCB press release archive at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/rupress.

Inoue, E., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200809151.



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