Soluble protein oligomers in neurodegeneration: lessons from the Alzheimer's amyloid beta-peptide
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 8(2): 101-12
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The distinct protein aggregates that are found in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and prion diseases seem to cause these disorders. Small intermediates - soluble oligomers - in the aggregation process can confer synaptic dysfunction, whereas large, insoluble deposits might function as reservoirs of the bioactive oligomers. These emerging concepts are exemplified by Alzheimer's disease, in which amyloid beta-protein oligomers adversely affect synaptic structure and plasticity. Findings in other neurodegenerative diseases indicate that a broadly similar process of neuronal dysfunction is induced by diffusible oligomers of misfolded proteins.