College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Structure Transitions of the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's linked proteins synuclein and tau

November 24, Tue 2009
1:00 pm, MRB 200 Conference Room

Dr. David Eliezer

Department of Biochemistry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

The proteins alpha-synuclein and tau are linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease both genetically and through their presence in the hallmark Lewy body and neurofibrillary tangle neuronal deposits associated with these disorders, in which the proteins are found aggregated into highly ordered amyloid fibrils or paired helical filaments. We use spectroscopic methods to characterize the structural features of alpha-synuclein and tau in different contexts, including the highly disordered free state of each protein and more ordered conformations reflecting membrane- or microtubule-binding, in order to clarify how these features may influence both the self-assembly of the proteins and their normal physiological functions, and how these effects may relate to the role of the proteins in Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease.


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