News of the WeekNeuroscience

Elusive Protein Auditions for Several New Roles

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Science  06 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5527, pp. 28-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5527.28

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The normal role of amyloid precursor protein (APP)--the source of amyloid b, the small protein whose abnormal deposition in the brain is thought to cause Alzheimer's disease--has remained elusive, despite years of study. Now, on page 115, neurobiologists report evidence that APP's so-called cytoplasmic tail, when released from APP, can activate gene expression in the nucleus--possibly acting directly as a transcription factor, a protein that binds to regulatory regions and turns genes on and off. This is the first time anyone has linked APP to control of gene expression.