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Link found between proteins responsible for Alzheimer's and vCJD

A Chinese research team has described a 'striking similarity' between the proteins involved in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

(medwire@sciencenow.com)

LONDON, August 25 (SPIS MedWire). The proteins responsible for Alzheimer's disease and variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) seem to have some similarities. Both of these diseases arise because of malfunctioning proteins: the amyloid precursor protein in Alzheimer's, and the prion protein in vCJD. Professor Chi Ming Yang and his team at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, found a similar pattern of amino acids in both these proteins: a reductive amino acid followed by three non-reductive amino acids. Speaking at the meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington DC this week, Professor Yang said: "This suggests a common molecular mechanism underlying the initiation stages of sporadic Alzheimer's disease and both sporadic and genetic prion diseases." Reductive amino acids are more prone to damage from oxygen-containing free radicals. Normally the body is able to clear itself of free radicals but with age they may accumulate and damage protein molecules, causing...

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