Amyloid Clumps Formed on Space Station Affected by Microgravity

Amyloid Clumps Formed on Space Station Affected by Microgravity
Experiments on the International Space Station showed gravity affects the formation of amyloids, the pathological tangles of proteins found in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease. Both the speed by which they formed and the structure they took in microgravity differed from amyloids formed through similar means in an Earth-bound lab, the scientists reported, helping to understand how proteins assemble in ways that turn toxic. A study on this work, "Characterization of amyloid ß fibril formation under microgravity conditions," was published in the journal npj Microgravity, a publication of the journal Nature. Amyloid-beta is a peptide — a short chain of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins — found throughout the body. Although its normal healthy function remains a topic of debate, clumps of misfolded amyloid-beta in the brain area hallmark feature of Alzheimer's disease and contribute to the death of neurons. As such, amyloid-beta is an attractive target for potential Alzheimer's therapies. But scientists have yet to understand how it converts from a soluble, single-molecule form to a pathological (disease-causing) clump of many misshapen molecules known as amyloid fibrils, or plaques. Scientists know that amyloid-beta's physiological environment influences amyloid formation. Picking apart each of the factors involved should reveal not only their role in fibril formation, but clues as
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