Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

A protein homeostasis signature in healthy brains recapitulates tissue vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease

Science Advances  10 Aug 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600947
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600947

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Abstract

In Alzheimer’s disease, aggregates of Aβ and tau in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles spread progressively across brain tissues following a characteristic pattern, implying a tissue-specific vulnerability to the disease. We report a transcriptional analysis of healthy brains and identify an expression signature that predicts—at ages well before the typical onset—the tissue-specific progression of the disease. We obtain this result by finding a quantitative correlation between the histopathological staging of the disease and the expression patterns of the proteins that coaggregate in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, together with those of the protein homeostasis components that regulate Aβ and tau. Because this expression signature is evident in healthy brains, our analysis provides an explanatory link between a tissue-specific environmental risk of protein aggregation and a corresponding vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease.

Keywords
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • protein aggregation
  • protein homeostasis
  • tissue vulnerability

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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