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Glossary
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Amyloid plaques - Senile plaques, or neuritic plaques, are spherical bodies that typically contain a central core of amyloid surrounded by degenerating neuronal processes. more

Amyloid precursor protein - APP is a large protein that undergoes a series of regulated cleavage events to generate a set of protein fragments, one of which is Abeta

axonal transport

beta-amyloid peptide = Abeta - a small protein fragment derived from APP; It is a normal metabolic product of APP processing but in Alzheimer's disease it aggregates and forms microscopic amyloid deposits in the brain.

CTNNA3 - a member of the alpha-catenin family, that binds to β-catenin and is also a negative regulator of the Wnt signalling cascade

Gene - the main functional unit for encoding the necessary information to synthesise a specific protein. Genes are located on chromosomes found gathered together in the nucleus of cells. For example, the gene that encodes APP is found on Chromosome 21.

IDE - A gene on chromosome 10 that influences plasma Aβ levels. more

In vitro - This literally means “in glass” and originally referred to experiments carried out in glass dishes, e.g. nerve cells artificially grown and studied in a tissue culture dish rather than in the brain, their natural living environment.

In vivo - This literally means “in a living thing”, e.g. studying the function of a substance in a living, possibly anaesthetized, organism.

Knock out - Refers to an organism whose genetic make-up has been altered so that a specific gene has been prevented from functioning, i.e. “knocked-out”.

LOD - A statistical estimate of the probability that two loci lie near to each other on a chromosome and, therefore, of the likelihood that they may be inherited together. A LOD score of three or more is generally taken to indicate that the two loci are close.

Mass spectrometry - Mass spectrometry is a technique that essentially 'weighs' molecules to determine what molecular components are present. more

Mutation - an abnormality in the unique coding sequence of a gene. Some mutations cause disease, e.g. mutations in the gene for APP causes Alzheimer's disease.

Neurofibrillary tangles - Neurofibrillary tangles are comprised of bundles of filaments twisted about each other in pairs (paired helical filaments or PHF) made from a hyperphosphorylated form of tau. more

PLAU - PLAU is a urokinase plasminogen activator whose primary action is to convert inactive zymogen plasminogen to plasmin, an Aβ degrading enzyme

Proteins - proteins are large molecules that carry out the majority of the work in cells. The basic building blocks of proteins are called amino acids. Each protein is encoded (synthesised) by a gene that is activated to produce that protein when it is required.

RNA - Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a chemical that, like DNA, is responsible for protein synthesis but, unlike DNA, it is able to leave the nucleus of the cell. more

tau - Tau is a microtubule associated protein, predominantly found in the axons of neurons. more

Tauopathies - Group of disorders characterised by hyperphosphorylated, insoluble aggregates of the microtubule associated protein tau. Examples include Alzheimers disease and Progressive supranuclear palsy

Transgenic - an organism whose genetic make-up has been altered so that it has stably incorporated a gene from another organism. An example of this is the APPswe mouse that has been engineered to express the human “Swedish” mutant form of APP. GM foods are plants that have been genetically modified to produce a desirable trait

Tubulin - Tubulin is the most abundant protein in microtubules. more

UTR - Untranslated regions of RNA are those which are not translated into protein. more

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