Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are caused by specific protein clumps — like tau or amyloid buildup. But researchers are still investigating how these proteins contribute to the cell death and brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Two recent studies focused on the accumulation of these proteins in the brain, and identified a likely trigger for the degeneration that occurs at the cellular level. Researchers determined that problems occur when there’s impairment in the system that transports proteasomes to cells. Proteasomes are molecular agents that break down proteins.
The first study, conducted by Rockefeller scientists, was published in the journal Developmental Cell. The second study, conducted in collaboration with Mary Beth Hatten’s lab, was then published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.