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New Gene Could Be A Potential Target For Alzheimer’s Disease

New Gene Could Be A Potential Target For Alzheimer’s Disease

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  • Alzheimer’s Disease is the fifth leading cause of death in the world.
  • Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 (USP9) gene found to be a potential target for treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The gene was found to have an indirect influence on tau protein which plays an important role in Alzheimer’s disease.

A gene has been identified as a new potential target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, finds a new study from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), University of Luxembourg.

The gene is known as the ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 (USP9) gene has an indirect influence on the Tau protein which plays a significant role in Alzheimer's disease.


The study findings were published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive destruction of the brain cells and neurons. The brain of Alzheimer's disease patients consists of protein deposits known as amyloid plaques.

About 35 million people in the world have Alzheimer's disease and this could rise to 65 million in 2030.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by tau proteins which gets aggregated into thread-like structures called neurofibrils. These may deposit between the brain cells and disrupt their function.

Dr. Enrico Glabb, head of the research group Biomedical Data Science at LCSB, said, "The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease at an advanced age is much higher in women than in men - even after adjusting for the longer average life expectancy of women."

This was taken as a clue to find the molecular differences between the two genders, that could contribute to the frequency and characteristics of disease.

Research Study
The research study was conducted by analyzing data from brain samples of 650 deceased people who had Alzheimer's and who did not.

The research team also encountered a gene which could be an important determinant of gender-specific differences in Alzheimer’s disease.

The gene was found to influence the activity of the gene which encodes microtubule assisted protein tau (MAPT).

How does the USP9 Gene Act?
To study the role of USP9 gene and the role of tau protein in Alzheimer's disease, the research team examined the gene in cell cultures and zebrafish.

The research team were found to block the activity of USP9 gene and then measured the effects of "knockdown" MAPT gene in the two models of cell culture and zebra fish.

Glabb, said, "We were able to show that USP9 knockdown significantly reduces the activity of the tau gene in both models."

The research team also developed a computer model which can combine the known regulatory information. USP9 gene could have a greater effect as a pharmaceutical target and could serve as a potential target in the future for tau-modulating compounds.

Alzheimer's Disease
  • Alzheimer's disease is one of the common cause of dementia.
  • It is the fifth leading cause of death in the world. One out of three seniors die due to Alzheimer's disease.
  • Loss of cognitive function is often accompanied by disease-associated changes in the brain.
  • Currently, there is no single test for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.
  • High cholesterol food may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
References :
  1. Enrico Glaab et.al. Gender-Specific Expression of Ubiquitin-Specific Peptidase 9 Modulates Tau Expression and Phosphorylation: Possible Implications for Tauopathies, Molecular Neurobiology, 2016DOI: 10.1007/s12035-016-0299-z
  2. 2016 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures - (http://www.alz.org/facts/)
  3. Facts about Alzheimer's - (https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/facts-about-alzheimers/)

Source: Medindia

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