Skip navigation
A. Protein Fragments Provide Clues to Alzheimer's Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's been known for some time that abnormal proteins are responsible for Alzheimer's disease, but scientists didn't quite know how. Now, a University of California, San Francisco study may provide some clues as to how abnormal proteins are generated. According Yadong Huang, who led the study, the key is the cleavage, or spitting, of a specific protein known as apoE4 into toxic fragments that accumulate in the brain.

Huang: ApoE4 may not be a problem for the patient, however when apoE4 gets cleaved in neurons, some fragments of apoE may be toxic.

Narrator: Huang believes that the enzyme responsible for cutting apoE may be the culprit, so finding a way to control the activity of this enzyme may be the key to future Alzheimer's treatments.

Huang: If we can design an inhibitor that can block or inhibit this enzyme activity, we may protect E4 from cleavage, which may protect E4's detrimental effect in neurodegeneration.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.