News Feed

Scientists propose new theory on Alzheimer’s, amyloid connection

Scientists propose new theory on Alzheimer’s, amyloid connection

IMAGE

IMAGE

Credit: Qi Zhang, Ph.D. and Claire E. DelBove

Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops this disease, which causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

It has been more than 100 years since Alois Alzheimer, M.D., a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, first reported the presence of senile plaques in an Alzheimer’s disease patient brain. It led to the discovery of amyloid precursor protein that produces deposits or plaques of amyloid fragments in the brain, the suspected culprit of Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, amyloid precursor protein has been extensively studied because of its association with Alzheimer’s disease. However, amyloid precursor protein distribution within and on neurons and its function in these cells remain unclear.

A team of neuroscientists led by Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute sought to answer a fundamental question in their quest to combat Alzheimer’s disease — “Is amyloid precursor protein the mastermind behind Alzheimer’s disease or is it just an accomplice?”

Mutations found in amyloid precursor protein have been linked to rare cases of familial Alzheimer’s disease. Although scientists have gained a lot knowledge about how this protein turns into amyloid plaques, little is known about its native function in neurons. In the case of more common sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, the highest genetic risk factor is a protein that is involved in cholesterol transportation and not this amyloid precursor protein. Moreover, various clinical trials designed to address Alzheimer’s disease by minimizing amyloid plaque formation have failed, including one from Biogen announced last month.

In a study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, Qi Zhang, Ph.D., senior author, an investigator at the FAU Brain Institute, and an assistant research professor in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, along with collaborators from Vanderbilt University, tackle this Alzheimer’s disease mystery by devising a multi-functional reporter for amyloid precursor protein and tracking the protein’s localization and mobility using quantitative imaging with unprecedented accuracy.

For the study, Zhang and collaborators genetically disrupted the interaction between cholesterol and amyloid precursor protein. Surprisingly, by disengaging the two, they discovered that this manipulation not only disrupts the trafficking of amyloid precursor protein but also messes up cholesterol distribution at the neuronal surface. Neurons with an altered distribution of cholesterol exhibited swollen synapses and fragmented axons and other early signs of neurodegeneration.

“Our study is intriguing because we noticed a peculiar association between amyloid precursor protein and cholesterol that resides in the cell membrane of synapses, which are points of contact among neurons and the biological basis for learning and memory,” said Zhang. “Amyloid precursor protein may just be one of the many accomplices partially contributing to cholesterol deficiency. Strangely, the heart and brain seem to meet again in the fight against bad cholesterol.”

Given the broad involvement of cholesterol in almost all aspects of neurons’ life, Zhang and collaborators have proposed a new theory about the amyloid precursor protein connection in Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the surface of those tiny synapses, which triggers neurodegeneration.

“Although still in early stages, this cutting-edge research by Dr. Zhang and his collaborators at Vanderbilt University may have implications for the millions of people at risk for or suffering with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D., executive director of the FAU Brain Institute and a professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “The number of people in Florida alone who are age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase 41.2 percent by 2025 to a projected 720,000, highlighting the urgency of finding a medical breakthrough.”

Locally, Alzheimer’s disease affects 11.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Palm Beach County and 12.7 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Broward County (a nearly 18 percent increase over national average).

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Florida is number one in per capita cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S.

###

Study co-authors of “Reciprocal Modulation between Amyloid Precursor Protein and Synaptic Membrane Cholesterol Revealed by Live Cell Imaging,” are Claire E. DelBove and Claire E. Strothman, graduate students; Roman M. Lazarenko, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow; Hui Huang, Ph.D.; and Charles R. Sanders, Ph.D., associate dean for research and a professor of biochemistry, all with Vanderbilt University.

This research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (OD00876101 and NS094738 awarded to Zhang and R01 AG056147 awarded to Sanders) and the FAU Brain Institute.

About the FAU Brain Institute:

Inaugurated in 2016 on the John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, Fla., the FAU Brain Institute, supports research, education and community outreach among more than 100 faculty level researchers at FAU and its affiliate research centers. One of FAU’s four pillars that guide the University’s goals and strategic actions, the Institute seeks to unlock the secrets of brain development, function and plasticity and how the mechanisms uncovered can be compromised to drive devastating brain disorders. From the study of neuronal development and signaling to investigations of brain diseases including addiction, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from FAU’s Brain Institute seek to generate knowledge that benefits society. For more information about the Institute and its members, visit http://www.ibrain.fau.edu.

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.

Media Contact
Gisele Galoustian
ggaloust@fau.edu


Source: New feed

Good mousekeeping: En suite bathroom makes for happier mice

Good mousekeeping: En suite bathroom makes for happier mice

IMAGE

IMAGE

Credit: UBC Media Relations

Mice have a strong preference to nest away from their own waste and should be housed in a system of cages that allows them to create a toilet area, according to work led by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

The study, published April 16 in Scientific Reports, showed that mice who were housed in a system of three interconnected cages used separate cages for nesting and eliminating waste.

The findings suggest that mice–used in more biomedical research than any other animal–should be provided with a so-called “en suite bathroom” space to ensure their welfare. Standard housing for these laboratory animals consists of simple cages with a single, small, open space.

“This finding is important, because housing mice in constant contact with their excrement is common practice in laboratories,” said Joanna Makowska, adjunct professor in the UBC faculty of land and food systems’ animal welfare program. “Housing animals in an environment they are motivated to avoid compromises their welfare, and may also negatively affect research data.”

Scientists believe that the segregation of space into clean and dirty areas is a behaviour that has evolved among many species as protection against disease. The UBC researchers were the first to directly test whether mice do it as well. They began by housing 60 mice, divided into small groups between standard single-compartment cages, and complex “triad” caging systems that featured three separate compartments connected by external tunnels.

During 15 weeks of observation, mice nested and urinated in the same location only two per cent of the time. Even the mice in single compartments made an effort to keep their nesting and waste areas separate within their cage, while the mice in triads used separate compartments for each.

The researchers also discovered that mice moved bedding and nesting material between the cages, showing that they were willing to work to maintain a comfortable place to rest, well away from the dirty compartment.

“In humans, the most common elicitors of disgust are feces and urine. This finding opens avenues for exciting new research, such as whether disgust is a reaction that has evolved across species in much the same way that pleasure and pain have,” said Makowska.

“Our ultimate goal, however, was to give mice more autonomy in designing their own space and thereby enhance our appreciation for their capabilities and preferences,” said co-author Becca Franks, a former postdoctoral fellow in the animal welfare program who is now visiting assistant professor at New York University.

###

Media Contact
Erik Rolfsen
erik.rolfsen@ubc.ca

Original Source

https://news.ubc.ca/2019/04/23/good-mousekeeping-en-suite-bathroom-makes-for-happier-mice/

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-42512-3


Source: New feed

Dengue mosquito is Queensland’s biggest threat for spreading Zika virus

Dengue mosquito is Queensland’s biggest threat for spreading Zika virus

IMAGE

IMAGE

Credit: QIMR Berghofer

Researchers at QUT and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have found that the dengue fever mosquito common to north and central Queensland poses the greatest danger of spreading the Zika virus in Australia.

The researchers showed that not only was the dengue mosquito effective at transmitting Zika, but also that the virus was in the mosquitoes’ reproductive organs. This finding suggests that Zika could persist in mosquito populations by females passing it to their offspring.

The researchers’ study, Vector competence of Australian Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus for an epidemic strain of Zika virus, has been published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Key points:

  • People can contract Zika from the bite of a female mosquito carrying the virus

  • A woman infected with Zika can pass the virus to her unborn child causing neurological problems including microcephaly, when the brain does not develop properly and the baby has a smaller than normal head

  • While more than 50 cases of Zika have been reported in Australia, all were contracted overseas

Study senior author Dr Francesca Frentiu, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the researchers looked at whether two mosquito species found in Queensland could transmit Zika: the dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

The dengue mosquito is found in northern, central and southern parts of the state, while the Asian Tiger mosquito is currently only in the Torres Strait.

The researchers tested a strain of Zika from the Asian lineage that caused microcephaly during the 2016 epidemic in Brazil.

Co-lead researcher Dr Leon Hugo, from QIMR Berghofer’s Mosquito Control Laboratory, said the mosquitoes used in the study were hatched from eggs collected from colonies in Innisfail and Hammond Island in the Torres Strait, and reared at the institute’s state-of-the-art mosquito and pathogen containment insectary in Brisbane.

“Our high biosecurity insectary is unique in the southern hemisphere for its size, capacity and expertise, allowing us to work safely with dangerous pathogens like Zika,” Dr Hugo said.

“We fed the two strains of mosquitoes with a mixture of Zika virus and blood.”

Dr Frentiu said the mosquitoes were maintained in the insectary at temperatures similar to what is experienced in north Queensland around Cairns to simulate a field experiment.

“At three, seven and 14 days after the mosquitoes were infected with Zika, we tested their saliva to see if they could pass on the virus through a bite,” she said.

“We concluded that the dengue mosquito is the main danger for spreading Zika.

“We found 50-60 per cent of the dengue mosquitoes could effectively transmit the virus 14 days after becoming infected, compared to 10 per cent of the Asian Tiger mosquitoes.”

Dr Frentiu said the discovery of Zika in the ovaries of the dengue mosquitoes indicated another potential route of infection transmission through mosquito populations.

“This has also been observed recently in field specimens collected in Brazil,” she said. “Aedes aegypti eggs were collected and hatched and the larvae tested, and Zika was found in the larvae.

“It is possible that if infected larvae were able to reach maturity still infected with Zika, they could then pass the virus to humans. This is an area where further research is needed.”

###

Media Contact
Karen Milliner
k.milliner@qut.edu.au

Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007281


Source: New feed

Drug Patent Expirations for the Week of April 21, 2019

Drug Patent Expirations for the Week of April 21, 2019
ADDERALL XR 20 (amphetamine aspartate; amphetamine sulfate; dextroamphetamine saccharate; dextroamphetamine sulfate) Shire Patent: 6,605,300 Expiration: Apr 21, 2019 See More … For more information on how DrugPatentWatch can help with…
The post Drug Patent Expirations for the Week of April 21, 2019 appeared first on DrugPatentWatch – Make Better Decisions.

The post Drug Patent Expirations for the Week of April 21, 2019 appeared first on Biotechblog.

Source: Biotechblog

New patent for Vertex Pharms drug SYMDEKO (COPACKAGED)

New patent for Vertex Pharms drug SYMDEKO (COPACKAGED)
Annual Drug Patent Expirations for SYMDEKO+%28COPACKAGED%29 Symdeko (copackaged) is a drug marketed by Vertex Pharms Inc and is included in one NDA. It is available from one supplier. There are…
The post New patent for Vertex Pharms drug SYMDEKO (COPACKAGED) appeared first on DrugPatentWatch – Make Better Decisions.

The post New patent for Vertex Pharms drug SYMDEKO (COPACKAGED) appeared first on Biotechblog.

Source: Biotechblog

New patent for Acelrx Pharms drug DSUVIA

New patent for Acelrx Pharms drug DSUVIA
Annual Drug Patent Expirations for DSUVIA Dsuvia is a drug marketed by Acelrx Pharms and is included in one NDA. It is available from one supplier. There are fourteen patents…
The post New patent for Acelrx Pharms drug DSUVIA appeared first on DrugPatentWatch – Make Better Decisions.

The post New patent for Acelrx Pharms drug DSUVIA appeared first on Biotechblog.

Source: Biotechblog

New patent for Therapeuticsmd Inc drug IMVEXXY

New patent for Therapeuticsmd Inc drug IMVEXXY
Annual Drug Patent Expirations for IMVEXXY Imvexxy is a drug marketed by Therapeuticsmd Inc and is included in one NDA. It is available from one supplier. There are two patents…
The post New patent for Therapeuticsmd Inc drug IMVEXXY appeared first on DrugPatentWatch – Make Better Decisions.

The post New patent for Therapeuticsmd Inc drug IMVEXXY appeared first on Biotechblog.

Source: Biotechblog

New patent for Cubist Pharms drug SIVEXTRO

New patent for Cubist Pharms drug SIVEXTRO
Annual Drug Patent Expirations for SIVEXTRO Sivextro is a drug marketed by Cubist Pharms Llc and is included in two NDAs. It is available from one supplier. There are three…
The post New patent for Cubist Pharms drug SIVEXTRO appeared first on DrugPatentWatch – Make Better Decisions.

The post New patent for Cubist Pharms drug SIVEXTRO appeared first on Biotechblog.

Source: Biotechblog

Biotecnika Times – Newsletter 23.04.2019 – NCCS Pune Rs. 53,000/- Salary Job, CSIR

Biotecnika Times – Newsletter 23.04.2019 – NCCS Pune Rs. 53,000/- Salary Job, CSIR
Netaji Subhas Fellowship, Young Scientist Fellowship, Novus Biologicals Scholarship, Jobs @ NBRC, NICED + Much More

Biotecnika Times – NCCS Pune Rs. 53,000/- Salary Job, CSIR NCCS, Pune BSc & MSc Technician Post With Rs. 53,000/- Salary pm Candidates with MSc & BSc Biological / Life Sciences are encouraged to apply for Technician vacancies. Life sciences jobs for msc & bsc candidates at NCCS. MSc Biological/Lifesciences candidates apply for technician positions. […]

The post Biotecnika Times – Newsletter 23.04.2019 – NCCS Pune Rs. 53,000/- Salary Job, CSIR appeared first on BioTecNika.


Source: Biotecnika

New genomics tool ECCITE-seq expands multimodal single cell analysis

New genomics tool ECCITE-seq expands multimodal single cell analysis
ECCITE-seq (Expanded CRISPR-compatible Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by sequencing) allows researchers to perform high-throughput measurements of multiple modalities of information from single cells. The technique profiles different types of biomolecules from thousands of single cells in parallel, offering a breadth of information that can be used as readout in CRISPR-based pooled genetics screens.

Source: Sciencedaily