Of Proteins and Methylation

It has been a while since I have taken the time to really dive into the current Alzheimer's research.  Let's just say that my non-blog life takes a lot of time.  So, let's try to get caught up a little.  Here are two for today.

DNA methylation is involved with memories going from short-term to long-term storage and may impact relearning.  This experiment was interesting because it involved honeybees and how they learn.  The honeybees have a more simple brain than humans and have a visible response of sticking out their tongues when they remember where a source of food is located.  If you block DNA methylation, you directly impact the bees ability to learn.  DNA methylation also happens in human brains and this study indicates that what happens in our epi-genome may play a role in our development of Alzheimer's.  In other words, we may have a genetic predisposition for developing Alzheimer's but it may take certain environmental triggers to cause it to develop in any one person.

Aquaporin-4 may be another protein for scientists to look at in the quest to find a treatment or cure of Alzheimer's.  Its job is to conduct water through cell membranes and helps the brain flush out proteins such as amyloid and tau from building up in the brain.  If there's too little Aquaporin-4, the brain may not be able to clean itself well.


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