Discovery provides insight into role of copper and APP function in brain cells

05 May 2014

A team of scientists, made up of researchers from the partners of the Melbourne Brain Centre, has made a discovery that is of potential significance to traumatic brain injury and other pathological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Led by Professor James Camakaris (Department of Genetics) and Dr Karla Acevedo, the researchers have discovered that that copper induces relocalisation via nerve axons of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) – a key protein in the brain. This protein plays a neuroprotective role in traumatic brain injury.

Understanding the role that copper plays in regulating APP function in normal neuronal cells will provide insight into the interplay between copper and APP in normal and pathological conditions. The brain needs to maintain a healthy “copper balance”, as too little or too much copper has deleterious effects.

The findings were recently published in the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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