Targeting Proteins that Increase the Risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Carl Frieden, PhD
Washington University (St. Louis, MO, United States)
Year Awarded:
Grant Duration:
July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014
Alzheimer's Disease
Award Amount:
Grant Reference ID:
Award Type:
Award Region:
US Midwestern
Carl Frieden, PhD

Develop Screening Assays to Differentiate ApoE Isoforms


The primary cause for developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease rests in the properties of one of the ApoE isoforms, specifically a variant called “apoE4.” The screening procedures developed in Dr. Carl Frieden’s experiments are designed to lead to the long term goal of finding therapeutic agents that specifically target ApoE4 without disrupting the physiological function of the “normal” ApoE3, a variant that does not increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The hypothesis is that such agents will alter the deleterious effects of ApoE4 and thereby delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


The protein ApoE3 is essential for lipid and cholesterol metabolism. An almost identical protein, present in more than 5% of the population, is ApoE4.  This variant is a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease. The long-term objective of this study is to find ways to disrupt the behavior of ApoE4 without disrupting that of ApoE3. To do this Dr. Carl Frieden and his team will start by developing screening procedures that can be used to develop therapeutic agents that specifically target ApoE4. If successful, the next step will be to start high throughput screening procedures to develop agents that utilize the screening methods the scientists develop. The team includes individuals who are experts in computational docking approaches and organic chemists who can modify potential therapeutic agents defined by screening libraries and computational approaches.

About the Researcher

Dr. Carl Frieden is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. During the course of his scientific career he has investigated the fields of enzyme kinetics and mechanisms, the kinetics of allosteric enzymes, protein polymerization processes, and the mechanism of protein folding and the behavior of intrinsically disordered proteins. His current work focuses on the properties of one class of apolipoproteins, the apoE proteins, and on proteins involved in bacterial infections. Among other awards, he has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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