Bioscience

International TGen-led team finds link between brain protein and Alzheimer’s disease

September 15, 2008

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: TGen] – Investigators at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) today announced a link between the brain protein KIBRA and Alzheimer’s disease, a discovery that could lead to promising new treatments for this memory-robbing disorder.

The new discovery builds on a previous TGen-led study published in the prestigious journal Science, which showed a genetic link between KIBRA and memory in healthy adults.

In the new study, TGen researchers found that carriers of a memory-enhancing flavor of the KIBRA gene had a 25 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings were reported Saturday in the online edition of Neurobiology of Aging, a Philadelphia-based peer-review journal that generally focuses on how aging affects the nervous system.

“This research suggests that KIBRA, and possibly some of the proteins with which it interacts, may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Matthew Huentelman, an investigator in TGen’s Neurogenomics Division and the paper’s senior author.

The critical difference found in KIBRA, a protein so named because it is commonly found in the kidneys and brain, was that those individuals with the T-allele gene were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with the C-allele. Alleles are those genetic markers