A new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis details the…

A new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis details the structure of TREM2, a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. TREM2 lies on the surface of immune cells called microglia, which are thought to be important “housekeeping” cells. Results of a new study in the journal eLife show that mutations associated with Alzheimer’s alter the surface of the protein, while mutations linked to another brain disorder disrupt the protein’s interior. Such alterations may impair TREM2’s normal role in cleaning up cellular waste via a process called phagocytosis. TREM2 also has been implicated in other inflammatory conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke, making the structure of TREM2 important for understanding chronic and degenerative diseases throughout the body, the scientists conclude.

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Journal article: Neurodegenerative disease mutations in TREM2 reveal a functional surface and distinct loss-of-function mechanisms. eLife, 2016. 10.7554/eLife.20391
Image credit: Daniel L. Kober



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