Two Sides of Protein Amyloids

April 12, 2010 | Brooklyn College, CUNY Lecture Series

Protein amyloids, partly-crystalline protein fibers formed from identical sequences in molecules of the same protein, are best known for their link to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, says Brooklyn College biology Chair Peter Lipke. “Protein amyloids were discovered as the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof. Lipke at the Serving Science Cafe Lecture Series. “Cells in the central nervous system look for amyloid formation and try to get rid of them, but if they can’t, the cells commit suicide and lead to terrible medical consequences.” In his lecture “Protein Amyloids in Yeast Infections, Sherry, Mad Cow Disease, Ale, and Alzheimers,” Prof. Lipke said they can also be put to good use, as when beer, champagne or sherry yeasts use amyloid proteins to stick together, enabling brewers and vintners to easily remove the aggregates from the brew.
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