Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lack of Protein Relates to Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome

[caption id="attachment_7761" align="alignright" width="257" caption="Down syndrome: karyotype and affected child"][/caption]

In the article, Protein
Linked to Development Problems
it explains that mice with Alzheimer’s
disease and Down syndrome are both missing a protein called SNX27. Mice with
Down syndrome produce an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosome 21 does not
directly control the production of SNX27, but it does produce miR-155. miR-155
is a regulator that prevents the production of SNX27. The lack of SNX27
prevents the neurons from working properly in the brain. This discovery
partially explains the effects of Down syndrome. Discoveries like this can also
help to discover ways for treating people with Down syndrome. When scientists
tried inserting SNX27 into mice that lacked the protein, they found that their
brain function improved. In an article in Science Daily, it is said that:

"Everything goes back to normal after SNX27 treatment.
It's amazing -- first we see the glutamate receptors come back, then memory
deficit is repaired in our Down syndrome mice," said Xin Wang, a graduate
student in Xu's lab and first author of the study

Finding a way to help people with Down syndrome improve
their brain function will change the lives of many people. Hopefully it may
soon be possible to reverse the effects of Down syndrome through genetic

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