Research sheds light on how proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease influence neuronal growth | Science & Technology

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New research has shed light in the complex interplay between cell proteins, and how they impact on neurons in neurodevelopmental disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study led by the University of Exeter and published in Royal Society Open Biology has discovered the key role that the protein Contactin-4 (encoded by the gene CNTN4) plays in shaping neurons.

The researchers began studying CNTN4 because it was known to have a role in autism, but its functional roles were not well understood. The team explored how CNTN4 functions within the brain, particularly its interactions with proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

For the first time, the researchers studied mice who have had the CNTN4 gene knocked out in the cortex, the region of the brain responsible for key functions including memory, thinking and reasoning. They found that neurons developed in a different way in the cortex region.

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time in human cells the interaction between genes CNTN4 and APP, a gene strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease, revealing a co-dependent relationship that is essential for brain development, and specifically for…


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