Clinical

New drug development to treat Alzheimer’s disease

In Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by tau protein, toxic tau protein is abnormally modified and accumulated, causing dysfunction in nerve cells. ALK is a new dementia-causing factor that interferes with the maturation of autophagy and causes abnormal accumulation and cohesion of toxic tau proteins, causing neurological dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease.


ALK:
It is a new dementia disease that interferes with the maturation of autophagy and causes abnormal accumulation and cohesion of toxic tau proteins, causing neurological dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease.

Tau:
Tau is a protein that binds to microtubule in nerve cells and stabilizes it, and it is known to be associated with various types of tauopathic neurological diseases, which cause memory damage in Alzheimer’s disease when it is deformed and accumulated under pathological conditions.

Autophagosome:
It is an intermediate organism that occurs during autophagy activities that removes unnecessary proteins, viruses, and aging cell small organs inside the cell, and is then responsible for decomposing these substances through maturation steps that fuse with lysosome.

A research team led by Chung Yong-geun, a professor of life science at Seoul National University, discovered ALK, a new cell membrane receptor protein that can control tau pathology in dementia and identified its mechanism. The molecular mechanism of autophagy and tau protein accumulation is presented by ALK membrane proteins. The research team discovered the pathological phenomenon of nerve cells caused by ALK membrane proteins.

The research team found that the amount of ALK protein increased in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients. The team also observed that the use of ALK inhibitors suppress memory damage in dementia model mice. This adjusted the function of ALK to lay the foundation for the development of new Alzheimer’s drugs. The study was published in ‘Molecular Psychiatry.’

Source: Park, J., Choi, H., Kim, Y.D. et al. Aberrant role of ALK in tau proteinopathy through autophagosomal dysregulation. Mol Psychiatry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-01003-y

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