Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- A protein that trims unneeded neurons in early brain development takes on a more menacing function later in life as a trigger for Alzheimer’s disease, Genentech Inc. researchers have discovered.
The particle, dubbed “death receptor 6,” plays a previously unknown role in sparking mass cell death in Alzheimer’s disease, said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, executive vice president of research drug discovery at the South San Francisco, California-based biotechnology company. DR6 does this by binding to a fragment, called N-APP, of amyloid precursor protein, a known bad actor in the brain degeneration of Alzheimer’s.
The interaction of the death receptor with N-APP may play an innocent role in a developing brain by pruning neurons until there is just enough for normal brain function, said Tessier- Lavigne. In Alzheimer’s disease, this process gets hijacked and triggers runaway cell suicide that destroys memory and cognition. The discovery may offer new targets for drug development to slow degenerative brain diseases, he said.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Good News But Faster Please As Glenn Reynolds Says
Posted by BBL Jr at 10:26 PM