Field of Science

Moss and Alzeheimers Disease

I read this article entitled Moss Protein Plays Role In Alzheimer's Disease, Researchers Believe Science Daily. The title sounded really interesting but the article itself is not for the faint of mind. They use a lot of jargon and it has quite the round-about connection to . Maybe that is how most Science Daily articles are written? I don't read this publication very often. However if the intention is to communicate science to the public, I think that this article missed the target. Here is my outline/summary of this article.

Two groups of researchers at the University of Washington are working on components of cell communication channels. On group focuses on humans and the other group studies the moss
Physcomitrella patens. They are now collaborating on a project to understand the similarities an differences between this pathway in their respective organisms. The main gene of interest in this pathway is presenilin (PS). Two different mutations can occur in this gene which result in early onset of Alzeheimer's disease in mammals. One of these mutations causes buildup of plaque on nerve cells in the brain.

Researchers were interested in what the PS gene is doing in mosses and if its function is similar to that in animals. They examined this by taking the gene from moss and inserting it into the animals that had a malfunctioning PS gene. They discovered that some of the function was returned. Thus these two genes have a similar function which can be found in genes that share an evolutionary history from a common ancestor.

They hope that by learning about the role of the PS gene in other functions throughout the body, of either mosses or animals, that they can better understand the effects of Alzeheimer's disease therapy.


Alzheimer's Disease, Researchers Believe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/02/080208153632.htm

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