Nanotechnology for Revealing Molecular Mechanism of Alzheimer’s Disease

Y.L. Lyubchenko
University of Nebraska Medical Center, US

Keywords: nanoimaging, Alzheimer’s diseases, protein misfolding, atomic force microscopy, AFM, protein-protein interaction, computer modeling

Summary:

The common feature for Alzheimer’s (AD), Parkinson’s, prion’s and other neurodegenerative diseases (ND) is the formation of plaques in brain consisting primarily of aggregates of the disease specific protein (alyloids). Deregulation of the self-assembly process of proteins, or failures of cells to metabolize protein aggregates, results in amyloid formation and is associated with a wide range of human diseases, including AD and termed protein misfolding (deposition) disorders. Little progress has been made in the treatment of these diseases, due to a fundamental lack of knowledge of the protein self-assembly process. In fact, no effective therapeutic agents exist for AD, the most common neurodegenerative disease of aging. We have developed a nanoimaging based experimental approach enabling us to shed a new light on the AD development. Our central hypothesis is that the formation of dimers is the key step for aggregation and that the long lifespans of dimeric complexes promote the selection of the misfolding-aggregation paths from non-pathologic pathways. I will discuss the prospects for developing novel preventive and therapeutic treatments for AD and other diseases with the use of our nanoimaging approach.