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2011 Grants - Yu
Regionally Differential Autophagic Protein Degradation Expression in Alzheimer's Disease
Wai Haung Yu, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2011 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Cells constantly make new proteins and degrade old proteins. The creation of new proteins involves molecular systems that ensure new proteins are made correctly, and in which defective proteins are marked for degradation. Degradation of old and defective proteins involves specialized cell components known as proteasomes and lysosomes.
One theory about the development of Alzheimer's disease is that the protein degradation system in nerve cells malfunctions, leading to the accumulation of defective proteins into amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Wai Haung Yu, Ph.D., and colleagues are studying this theory by examining the functioning of lysosomes in different parts of the brain during aging. They plan to conduct experiments to measure the function of lysosomal proteins in normal mice during aging, and in mice that have been genetically altered to express Alzheimer's-like pathology, or brain changes. They will also examine whether changes in activity during aging or disease correspond to areas most affected by pathology. These studies will provide insights into one of the key theories about the development of Alzheimer's pathology.