Mitotic cdc2 Kinase and Alzheimer Neurodegeneration

Inez Vincent, PhD University of Washington

Project Details

Dr. Vincent is exploring the hypothesis that some of the processes that cause cancer in dividing cells can also occur in non-dividing neurons. Because neurons cannot divide, these processes may lead to cell degeneration and cell death. She has already found that some of the proteins that are key to cell division and cell growth are present in the dying neurons of Alzheimer's disease. These cell proteins are sometimes detectable in neurons even before the appearance of the lesions characteristic of AD. In this study, Dr. Vincent is testing whether introducing these cell cycle proteins into normal neurons will produce AD lesions. Once this question is answered, she will then attempt to determine if the known genetic mutations associated with AD affect the expression of the cell cycle proteins, and if so, how they do so.