AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017


Researchers Probe Brain Disease-Causing Proteins at the Atomic Level

A change in a single amino acid determines which species are vulnerable, study finds


Researchers studying a protein that causes a hereditary degenerative brain disease in humans have discovered that the human, mouse and hamster forms of the protein, which have nearly identical amino acid sequences, exhibit distinct three-dimensional structures at the atomic level.

The protein causes familial human cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), and the study is the first to examine forms of the protein in three different species.

Christopher Jaroniec, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The Ohio State University, said that the findings highlight the fact that minor alterations in single amino acids can cause profound differences in structure and function among this family of proteins.

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