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Science. 2015 Aug 7;349(6248):1255555. doi: 10.1126/science.1255555.

NEURODEGENERATION. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases: The prion concept in relation to assembled Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Medical Research Council, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.


The pathological assembly of Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein is at the heart of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Extracellular deposits of Aβ and intraneuronal tau inclusions define Alzheimer's disease, whereas intracellular inclusions of α-synuclein make up the Lewy pathology of Parkinson's disease. Most cases of disease are sporadic, but some are inherited in a dominant manner. Mutations frequently occur in the genes encoding Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein. Overexpression of these mutant proteins can give rise to disease-associated phenotypes. Protein assembly begins in specific regions of the brain during the process of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, from where it spreads to other areas.

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