Register for updates

 
 

Medicine & Health
RSS Feed
Drug Candidate Stabilizes Essential Transport Mechanism in Nerve Cells
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

NAP blocks formation of "tangles" that contribute to Alzheimer's disease, says TAU researcher

Tau is a key brain protein involved in Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases. Aggregates of Tau known as "neurofibrillary tangles" have been associated with nerve cell death and cognitive decline.

An important new Tel Aviv University study published in Molecular Psychiatry pinpoints the mechanism harnessed by the drug candidate NAP to block the formation of these harmful neurofibrillary tangles. It facilitates the interaction of Tau with microtubules, the minitubes that serve as "train tracks" for essential movement of biological material in nerve cells.

"Abnormal Tau proteins form tangles that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's disease," said Prof. Illana Gozes, who led the research for the study. "We showed here, for the first time, that the drug candidate NAP augmented microtubule movement in nerve cells. At the molecular level, NAP, a fragment of activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP), enhanced Tau-microtubule interactions that block the recruitment of Tau to the tangles observed in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders."

Prof. Gozes is the incumbent of the Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors, Head of the Elton Laboratory for Molecular Neuroendocrinology at TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a member of TAU's Adams Super Center for Brain Studies and the Sagol School of Neuroscience.

Stabilizing a neurobiological process

Prof. Gozes is responsible for discovering ADNP, a gene that is dysregulated in Alzheimer's. Mutations in ADNP that occur in pregnancy are a major cause of autism with intellectual disability.

"ADNP and NAP operate through the stabilization of microtubules — tubes within the cell that maintain cellular shape," Prof. Gozes said. "They transport biological material. These microtubules break down in in Alzheimer's disease and may be dysfunctional in autism. NAP works to protect the microtubules, thereby protecting the cell."

"We now discovered that ADNP dramatically enhances Tau binding to the microtubules, protecting them against destruction and against Tau pathology. We further discovered that this action of ADNP is through its NAP fragment, which is now intended for further clinical development."

"Knowing the precise mechanism of its action, it will be much easier to bring NAP to the clinic and to patients," said Prof. Gozes. "Furthermore, the precise mechanism defines a new drug target for autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's disease and many other neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases."

The research for the study was conducted by TAU graduate students Yanina Ivashko-Pachima and Dr. Anna Malishkevich, together with Dr. Laura C. Sayas of Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas de Canarias. NAP (now called CP201), a Tel Aviv University technology under a term sheet agreement with Coronis Neurosciences, is now planned for future clinical trials in patients with autism, specifically those with ADNP-related syndrome.




Latest News

Siblings of Children With Intellectual Disabilities Score High on Empathy, Teaching and Closeness

TAU research indicates positive relationship between children and their siblings with intellectual disabilities.

Fibroblasts Involved in Healing Spur Tumor Growth in Cancer

Vital to healing wounds, fibroblasts have a "misguided" response to cancer cells, according to TAU researchers.

TAU Study Finds Widespread Misinterpretation of Gene Expression Data

But bias can be removed from data to filter out false results, researchers say.

Made a "Dumb" Move? New Studies Say a Neuronal Mechanism Is to Blame

TAU, Hebrew University research finds a neuronal mechanism explains much of our irrational behavior.

Tiny Insects Become "Visible" to Bats When They Swarm

3-D simulations could provide new insights into the evolution of bat echolocation, TAU researchers say.

AFTAU Earns 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for Seventh Consecutive Year

Charity Navigator's highest rating indicates the nonprofit exceeds industry standards and outperforms other organizations.

TAU Partners with Columbia University to Launch Dual Degree Program

Israeli university's first-ever joint undergraduate program with an Ivy League university offers students a world-class liberal arts education on two continents.

TAU’s Prof. Ilan Tsarfaty Awarded Breast Cancer Research Foundation Grant

BCRF granted $66 million in funding to 275 scientists at institutions worldwide in 2019.

TAU's Prof. Carmit Levy Receives Young Investigator Award at Society for Melanoma Research Summit

Researcher honored for major contributions to the field of melanoma research.

Your Zip Software Can Calculate the Complex Physical Quantity Called Entropy

A standard compression algorithm could revolutionize physical and biological computations, TAU researchers say.

contentSecondary
c

© 2020 American Friends of Tel Aviv University
39 Broadway, Suite 1510 | New York, NY 10006 | 212.742.9070 | info@aftau.org
Privacy policy | Tel Aviv University