Patients who suffer from Alzheimer's disease have lower levels of ubiquilin-1 - key protein in their brains, finds study.
The study shows that this protein, known as ubiquilin-1, 'chaperones' the formation of amyloid precursor protein, a molecule whose malformation has been directly tied to Alzheimer's pathology.
"What we saw here is that in all 20 of the Alzheimer's brains we examined the ubiquilin-1 protein level was lower, and that's completely new," said University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston assistant professor Jose Barral.
"Our experiments looked at the consequences of decreased ubiquilin-1, and showed that it's necessary for the proper handling of amyloid precursor protein (APP)," he said.
One of the key APP misbehaviours that is predominant in Alzheimer's patients is the formation of toxic aggregations of the protein or its breakdown products, both inside and outside brain cells.
But the study has shown that ubiquilin-1 has the potential to decrease this aggregation.
The study was published in the journal of Biological Chemistry.