Alzheimer's Disease Research - Current Award
Jungsu Kim, Ph.D.
St. Louis, MO, United States
Title: Role of a LDLR-interacting protein in LDLR, ApoE, and Abeta Metabolism
Non-Technical Title: Role of a Lipid-Regulating Protein in Alzheimer's Disease Pathogenesis
Duration: July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014
Award Type: Pilot
Award Amount: $150,000
Genetic variants of the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene represent the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dr. Jungsu Kim’s previous studies suggest that low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) binds to ApoE protein and dramatically affects the development of AD. In the current experiments, he is investigating the role of a novel LDLR-interacting protein in regulating LDLR and ApoE protein levels in order to test its potential as an AD therapeutic.
Dr. Jungsu Kim and his team are investigating the role of a lipid-regulating protein in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. A variant of the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene represents the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. ApoE protein binds to lipids and regulates the amount of lipids in the brain. Kim’s previous studies suggest that low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) protein decreases ApoE protein levels and dramatically decreases toxic amyloid deposition in the brain. Therefore, increasing LDLR protein levels in the brain may represent a novel Alzheimer's disease treatment strategy. Interestingly, increase of LDLR levels is also being pursed to treat atherosclerosis and several other common heart diseases. Kim is studying the role of a novel LDLR-interacting protein in regulating LDLR and ApoE protein levels in the brain, in order to test its potential as an Alzheimer's disease therapeutic. To test the hypothesis, he is using two novel methods that he and his collaborators have developed over the last few years. One of the methods will efficiently determine whether a novel LDLR-interacting protein affects amyloid deposition in the brain by using a gene therapy approach. The other method utilizes a new instrument that allows accurate measurement of the weight of small protein fragments that are being experimentally tagged with “heavy” atoms. If an increase of this novel LDLR-interacting protein level significantly inhibits toxic amyloid formation and prevents Alzheimer's disease symptoms in animal models, the scientists plan to screen thousands of existing chemicals to identify compounds that might be tested as potential new drug candidates.
Dr. Jungsu Kim has been an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine since 2010. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2000 from Pohang University of Science & Technology in South Korea with a bachelor’s degree in life science. He completed his doctoral studies in 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Todd Golde at Mayo Clinic and received postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. David Holtzman at Washington University. Kim’s laboratory is seeking to understand the molecular and celluar basis of neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease and other common neurodegenrative diseases. One of their research goals is to develop therapeutic strategies targeting brain lipid-regulating proteins, such as ApoE, LDLR, and ABCA1. In addition, his lab uses a combination of genomics, proteomics, and biochemical approaches to identify novel microRNAs involved in neurodegeneration, synaptic plasticity, and brain lipid metabolism.