Neurodegenerative Disease Progression Linked To Proteins in the Brain


eMediNexus    11 January 2023

According to a new study, the accumulation of tau and tubulin proteins in the brain is responsible for the advancement of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In this study, researchers from the University of Arkansas developed a unique silicon nitride nanopore-based sensing device to investigate tau and tubulin proteins.


The study published in the Journal of Applied Physics described the device designed to provide volumetric information about tau and tubulin protein molecules, including their aggregation states at the single-molecule level. The study described how the team studied how the protein controls the current and voltage passing through a nanopore system.


The lead author of the study stated that Ohm’s Law is the basic physics that enables the nanopore device to sense protein molecules. She explained that when a hole with a diameter of 6 to 30 nanometers is made in a thin silicon nitride membrane supported by a silicon substrate, it is placed into a solution with salt ions, followed by applying an electric voltage to drive the ions’ flow through the hole, or nanopore, which generates an open pore ionic current. However, when a charged protein molecule is near the nanopore, it is also driven into the nanopore. But due to its larger size, it blocks the flow of ions, causing the open-pore current to drop.


Dr. Li explained that the amount of current drop produced by a protein molecule is proportional to the protein’s volume, size, and shape. Hence, based on this finding, her team measured the volume information of tau and tubulin protein molecules and their aggregation under different biological conditions. 


(Source: https://theprint.in/health/study-finds-neurodegenerative-disease-progression-linked-to-proteins-in-brain/1308286/ )

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