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2005 Grant - Xu
Determine the Role of the Long Beta-Amyloid 46 in Alzheimer's Disease Development
Xuemin Xu, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
2005 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment that may be a key toxic factor in Alzheimer's disease. Production of beta-amyloid is generally understood to be a two-stage process of cutting it from a larger molecule called amyloid precursor protein (APP). In Alzheimer's disease, the second cut usually results in a beta-amyloid protein fragment that is 42 amino acids long. (Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.) This fragment is often called beta-amyloid–42.
Recent studies have shown that longer forms of beta-amyloid may be produced before it is clipped down to beta-amyloid–42. Xuemin Xu, Ph.D., and colleagues have discovered a beta-amyloid fragment that is 46 amino acids long and appears to be an intermediate stage before the production of beta-amyloid–42.
In this investigation, the researchers will conduct a series of experiments with cultured cells to (1) determine the mechanism by which this longer protein, beta-amyloid–46, is produced, (2) understand where its production occurs, and (3) assess what role it may have in contributing to molecular processes in Alzheimer's disease.
The outcome of this work may provide relevant insight for investigators who are developing drugs to inhibit the production of beta-amyloid.