'Alzheimer's protein' plays role in maintaining eye health and muscle strength

June 9, 2015, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key protein implicated in the development Alzheimer's disease, may play an important role in eye and muscle health. In a new report published in the June 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists have discovered that when proteins that bind to the APP, called FE65 and FE65L1, are deleted, they cause cataracts and muscle weakness in mice. Additionally, this study demonstrates that the expression of laminin, a protein pivotal for the interaction between lens epithelial cells and the lens capsule, is severely altered in mice lenses missing both FE65 and FE65L1 genes. If confirmed in human studies, the FE65 and FE65L1 proteins may become a therapeutic target for cataracts, muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer's disease.

"We hope the discoveries in this study would help to expand our understanding of the normal function of FE65 and APP," said Jaehong Suh, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. "From this kind of very basic research, we may be able to find more clues for the causes of, and ultimately to discover effective treatments for related human diseases such as cataract, congenital muscular dystrophies and Alzheimer's disease."

To make their discovery, Suh and colleagues examined and compared the eyes and muscles of four different mouse groups: one without the FE65 protein, one without FE65L1, one without both FE65 and FE65L1, and one that was normal control mice. They found that mice lacking both FE65 and FE65L1 develop severe lens degeneration that may be an extreme manifestation of cataract and . Milder deficits in muscle were found in the mice with only one gene deleted, while no changes were seen in the normal mice. Interestingly, cortical cataracts were observed in old mice lacking the FE65L1 protein.

"It's rare that in any living system, one gene or one protein performs only one function," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Although this is a new find, the fact that a protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease has a function in tissues other than the brain should come as no surprise—but APP's function in the eye is unexpected!"

Explore further: How Alzheimer's could occur: Protein spheres in the nucleus give wrong signal for cell division

More information: Jaehong Suh, Juliet A. Moncaster, Lirong Wang, Imran Hafeez, Joachim Herz, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Lee E. Goldstein, and Suzanne Y. Guénette. FE65 and FE65L1 amyloid precursor protein-binding protein compound null mice display adult-onset cataract and muscle weakness. FASEB J. June 2015 29:2628-2639; DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-261453

Related Stories

How Alzheimer's could occur: Protein spheres in the nucleus give wrong signal for cell division

April 11, 2013
A new hypothesis has been developed by researchers in Bochum on how Alzheimer's disease could occur. They analysed the interaction of the proteins FE65 and BLM that regulate cell division. In the cell culture model, they ...

Muscular dystrophy: Repair the muscles, not the genetic defect

September 14, 2014
A potential way to treat muscular dystrophy directly targets muscle repair instead of the underlying genetic defect that usually leads to the disease.

'Hulk' protein, Grb10, controls muscle growth

August 30, 2012
Scientists have moved closer toward helping people grow big, strong muscles without needing to hit the weight room. Australian researchers have found that by blocking the function of a protein called Grb10 while mice were ...

Gene controls stem cells during muscle regeneration

June 2, 2015
Unlike many other organs, skeletal muscles have a high potential for regeneration. When a muscle is injured, the muscle stem cells – also known as satellite cells – located between the individual muscle fibres rapidly ...

Researchers discover key to maintaining muscle strength while we age

June 2, 2015
What causes us to lose muscle strength as we age and how exercise can prevent it from happening has never been thoroughly understood, but McMaster University researchers have discovered a key protein required to maintain ...

Cardiac and respiratory function supported by abdominal muscles in muscular dystrophy

February 27, 2015
The muscular dystrophies are known to target various muscle groups differentially. In addition to making limb muscles weak, muscular dystrophy (MD) can also lead to decreased function of specific muscles involved in respiration ...

Recommended for you

Scientists grow functioning human neural networks in 3-D from stem cells

October 18, 2018
A team of Tufts University-led researchers has developed three-dimensional (3-D) human tissue culture models for the central nervous system that mimic structural and functional features of the brain and demonstrate neural ...

Functional engineered oesophagus could pave way for clinical trials 

October 18, 2018
The world's first functional oesophagus engineered from stem cells has been grown and successfully transplanted into mice, as part of a pioneering new study led by UCL.

New findings cast light on lymphatic system, key player in human health

October 16, 2018
Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have broken new ground in understanding how the lymphatic system works, potentially opening the door for future therapies.

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Age-related increase in estrogen may cause common men's hernia

October 16, 2018
An age-related increase in estrogen may be the culprit behind inguinal hernias, a condition common among elderly men that often requires corrective surgery, according to a Northwestern Medicine study was published Oct. 15 ...

Income and wealth affect the mental health of Australians, study shows

October 16, 2018
Australians who have higher incomes and greater wealth are more likely to experience better mental health throughout their lives, new research led by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.