The amyloid beta peptide (A beta P) is a small fragment of the much larger, broadly distributed amyloid precursor protein (APP). Abundant A beta P deposition in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease suggests that altered APP processing may represent a key pathogenic event. Direct protein structural analyses showed that constitutive processing in human embryonic kidney 293 cells cleaves APP in the interior of the A beta P, thus preventing A beta P deposition. A deficiency of this processing event may ultimately prove to be the etiological event in Alzheimer's disease that gives rise to senile plaque formation.

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