Public Release: 

Another example of tangled proteins in neurodegenerative diseases

Case Western Reserve University

Tangled strands of proteins called amyloid are found in the brain tissues of patients with a variety of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. One such protein is tau, now known to participate in tangle formation in Alzheimer's patients. Another is alpha-synuclein, whose mutations cause Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. In a paper published in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Psychiatry, the Tokyo Metropolitan University, and RIKEN Harima Institute show that alpha-synuclein can also enhance microtubule formation, similar to tau.

Alpha-Synuclein was originally found in Alzheimer's disease brains by Kenji Uéda et al. Microtubules are cytoskeletal polymers essential for axonal transport and neuronal function. Writing in the article, Kenji Uéda, Ph.D., states, "Now we can see a striking resemblance between alpha-synuclein and tau: both have the same physiological function and pathological features, making abnormal structures in diseased brains known as synucleinopathies and tauopathies. The discovery of a physiological role for alpha-synuclein may provide a new dimension in researches into the mechanisms of alpha-synuclein-associated neurodegenerative diseases."

"These novel and important findings offer a new window to explore the normal physiology of these diseases" stated George Perry, editor-in-chief, JAD.

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The article is "Demonstration of a role for alpha-synuclein as a functional microtubule-associated protein" by M. Abdul Alim, Qiu-Lan Ma, Kazuya Takeda, Takako Aizawa, Mamoru Matsubara, Minako Nakamura, Akiko Asada, Taro Saito, Hiroyuki Kaji, Mitsunobu Yoshii, Shinichi Hisanaga and Kenji Uéda. It appears in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Vol. 6, Number 4 published by IOS Press.

Full text of the article mentioned above is available upon request. Contact info@iospress.nl to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview. ©2004 IOS Press. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

About the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (www.j-alz.com) is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment and psychology of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. The journal is dedicated to providing an open forum for original research that will expedite our fundamental understanding of Alzheimer's disease.

About IOS Press

Commencing its publishing activities in 1987, IOS Press (www.iospress.com) is a rapidly expanding scientific, technical, medical and professional publishing house focusing on a broad range of subject areas. Headquartered in Amsterdam, IOS Press publishes approximately 100 new books per annum and 60 international journals, covering topics ranging from computer science and mathematics to medicine and the natural sciences. Electronic access to all journals is now available. IOS Press also maintains offices in the Washington, DC area and Berlin and a co-publishing relationship with Ohmsha, Ltd (Tokyo).

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