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2006 Grant - Yu
ApoE Isoform Effect on Intraneuronal Abeta Accumulation
Chunjiang Yu, Ph.D.
University of Illinois
2006 New Investigator Research Grant
Beta-amyloid, a tiny protein fragment, is a key suspect in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. This protein fragment tends to clump together in the spaces between nerve cells and other cells in the brain. Recently, however, evidence has shown that beta-amyloid may first assemble itself into tiny structures within the nerve cells. This finding has changed the way scientists think about its potential toxicity.
Just how beta-amyloid aggregates within nerve cells is unclear. Chunjiang Yu, Pd.D., and colleagues believe that a variant form of a protein called apolipo-protein E (ApoE) may play a role in this process. People who have the ApoE4 variation of the protein are more likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Dr. Yu's team will search for a possible mechanism through which ApoE4 may exacerbate the accumulation of beta-amyloid within nerve cells. They will also test the hypothesis that such intracellular accumulation of beta-amyloid leads to the deterioration of nerve cells. For their work, the researchers will use both laboratory cells and the brains of mice genetically altered to produce ApoE4. Results from this study may explain the mechanism by which a known risk factor may contribute to Alzheimer pathology and suggest new therapeutic strategies.