Gene mutation defends against Alzheimer's disease.

Nature (Impact Factor: 38.6). 07/2012; 487(7406):153. DOI: 10.1038/487153a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rare genetic variant suggests a cause and treatment for cognitive

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    ABSTRACT: Deposits of amyloid fibers are found in large numbers in the walls of blood vessels and in neuritic plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer disease and adults with Down syndrome. We used the amino acid sequence of the amyloid peptide to synthesize oligonucleotide probes specific for the gene encoding this peptide. When a human brain cDNA library was screened with this probe, a clone was found with a 1.7-kilobase insert that contains a long open reading frame coding for 412 amino acid residues including the 28 amino acids of the amyloid peptide. RNA gel blots revealed that a 3.3-kilobase mRNA species was present in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer disease, with Down syndrome, or with no apparent neurological disorders. Southern blots showed that homologous genes are present in the genomic DNA of humans, rabbits, sheep, hamsters, and mice, suggesting that this gene has been conserved through mammalian evolution. Localization of the corresponding genomic sequences on human chromosome 21 suggests a genetic relationship between Alzheimer disease and Down syndrome, and it may explain the early appearance of large numbers of neuritic plaques in adult Down syndrome patients.
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    ABSTRACT: The amyloid beta protein has been identified as an important component of both cerebrovascular amyloid and amyloid plaques of Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome. A complementary DNA for the beta protein suggests that it derives from a larger protein expressed in a variety of tissues. Overexpression of the gene in brain tissue from fetuses with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) can be explained by dosage since the locus encoding the beta protein maps to chromosome 21. Regional localization of this gene by both physical and genetic mapping places it in the vicinity of the genetic defect causing the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease.
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    ABSTRACT: Four clones were isolated from an adult human brain complementary DNA library with an oligonucleotide probe corresponding to the first 20 amino acids of the beta peptide of brain amyloid from Alzheimer's disease. The open reading frame of the sequenced clone coded for 97 amino acids, including the known amino acid sequence of this polypeptide. The 3.5-kilobase messenger RNA was detected in mammalian brains and human thymus. The gene is highly conserved in evolution and has been mapped to human chromosome 21.
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