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Research Grants - 2006


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Research Grants 2006


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2006 Grant - Magrane

Synaptic Damage from Intraneuronal Abeta Accumulation

Jordi Magrane, Ph.D.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
New York, New York

2006 New Investigator Research Grant

One of the earliest pathological features of Alzheimer's disease is the loss of synapses, specialized structures that facilitate communication between neurons in the brain. Why these synapses degenerate is unclear, but many scientists believe that beta-amyloid, the small protein fragment that has become synonymous with the disease, may be responsible.

One theory suggests that a build up of beta-amyloid inside neurons eventually leads to the collapse of synapses. Confirming that theory requires a much better understanding of how beta-amyloid behaves inside neurons, but that has proven to be a difficult task. One of the main problems with studying neurons is having them make proteins to order.

Jordi Magrane, Ph.D., has developed a system whereby specific proteins are rapidly and efficiently produced inside neurons. The key is to infect cultured neurons with viruses that carry the genetic code for the protein of interest. Magrane and colleagues have used this system to produce beta-amyloid inside cultured neurons and, in so doing, have linked the small protein fragment to increased cellular stress and decreased survival. She now plans to use this same system to examine if and how beta-amyloid may affect the function or maintenance of synapses. This work may lead to new insights into the potential toxic properties of beta-amyloid.