Frameshift mutants of β amyloid precursor protein and ubiquitin-B are prominent in Alzheimer and Down patients.
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The cerebral cortex of Alzheimer's and Down syndrome patients is characterized by the presence of protein deposits in neurofibrillary tangles, neuritic plaques, and neuropil threads. These structures were shown to contain forms of beta amyloid precursor protein and ubiquitin-B that are aberrant (+1 proteins) in the carboxyl terminus. The +1 proteins were not found in young control patients, whereas the presence of ubiquitin-B+1 in elderly control patients may indicate early stages of neurodegeneration. The two species of +1 proteins displayed cellular colocalization, suggesting a common origin, operating at the transcriptional level or by posttranscriptional editing of RNA. This type of transcript mutation is likely an important factor in the widely occurring nonfamilial early- and late-onset forms of Alzheimer's disease.