A new potential target in the fight against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases has been identified by a team of scientists.
The results were published online June 4 as the Paper of the Week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry
. As a Paper of the Week, Kosik's work is among the top 2 percent of manuscripts the journal reviews in a year. Based on significance and overall importance, between 50 and 100 papers are selected for this honor from the more than 6,600 published each year.
Kosik and his research team focused on tau, a protein normally present in the brain, which can develop into neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) that, along with plaques containing amyloid-ß protein, characterize Alzheimer's disease. When tau becomes pathological, many phosphate groups attach to it, causing it to become dysfunctional and intensely phosphorylated, or hyperphosphorylated. Aggregations of hyperphosphorylated tau are also referred to as paired helical filaments.