Alpha secretase regulates stem cell proliferation and cell fate determination
Alzheimer's is a degenerative and terminal disease for which there is no known cure. The cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease is not well understood. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. These plaques are composed of a tangle of regularly ordered fibrillar aggregates called amyloid fibers, a protein fold shared by other peptides such as prions associated with protein misfolding diseases. Aβ is formed after sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), a transmembrane glycoprotein of undetermined function. APP can be processed by α-, β- and γ-secretases; Aβ protein is generated by successive action of the β and γ secretases. The UIC invention suggests that the alpha secretase also plays an important role in regulating neural stem cell proliferation and cell fate determination. Thus the invention finds a critical link between Alzheimer’s disease and adult Neurogenesis.