PerspectiveCell Biology

Yeast Informs Alzheimer's Disease

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Science  02 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6060, pp. 1212-1213
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216073

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Summary

Alzheimer's disease robs ~50% of individuals older than 85 years of age of cognitive function, causing devastating dementia and ultimately death. Initial insight into the biological processes that go awry came from molecular genetic analysis of familial forms associated with early-onset disease, revealing mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilins 1 and 2 (PSEN1 and PSEN2). Analysis showed that altered generation and accumulation of beta-amyloid peptide (Aβ) fragments from APP, notably Aβ(1-42), are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. On page 1241 in this issue, Treusch et al. (1) show that Aβ toxicity can be modeled in yeast, and that yeast modifiers of that toxicity can powerfully inform our understanding of genetic players in the human disease.