Although the causes of Alzheimer’s disease remain a mystery, genetic research is now providing clues about how the disease develops…By collecting information on the genetic make-up of thousands of people, scientists…have identified nearly 30 gene variants that are more common in the disease.
The function of many of these “risk genes” in the brain is unknown, but they appear to cluster by biological function, giving us greater insight into the mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s. One of the biological functions implicated in Alzheimer’s from these genetic findings is the transport of material into the cell, known as endocytosis. This occurs when material cannot passively cross the cell membrane, the cell buds inwards to capture the cargo in a small fluid-filled sac.
Part of our research involves measuring the amount of beta-amyloid and other fragments produced by cells as a result of APP breakdown. Comparing these between healthy cells and those where Alzheimer’s risk genes have been manipulated allows us to understand the involvement of these genes in beta-amyloid production.
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