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2007 Grant - Jaroniec
High Resolution NMR Studies of Beta-Amyloid-Congo Red Interaction
Christopher P. Jaroniec, Ph.D.
Ohio State University
2007 New Investigator Research Grant
The protein fragment beta-amyloid may play a key role in damaging cell-to-cell communication and causing the loss of brain cells in Alzheimer's disease. This fragment tends to clump together in stages, eventually forming amyloid plaques within the Alzheimer brain. The most widely used method for detecting beta-amyloid clumps involves the use of a dye molecule called Congo red. Congo red "stains" beta-amyloid by binding to it and making it more detectable in brain tissue samples.
Recent studies have indicated that Congo red has the ability to inhibit the aggregation and toxicity of beta-amyloid. As such, the dye may offer an important potential therapy for people with Alzheimer's. However, scientists do not yet know exactly how Congo red binds to beta-amyloid and how that binding may affect beta-amyloid properties.
Christopher P. Jaroniec, Ph.D., and colleagues propose to create minutely detailed structural images of Congo red binding to beta-amyloid. For this effort, the researchers will use sophisticated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging techniques. Dr. Jaroniec's team will then analyze the images to identify biological mechanisms that determine how Congo red and beta-amyloid interact with each other. The results of this study could lead to a better understanding of how Congo red may ameliorate the progression of Alzheimer's disease.