Alzheimer's-affected brains are riddled with so-called amyloid plaques: protein aggregates consisting mainly of amyloid-β.
However, this amyloid-β is a fragment produced from a precursor protein whose normal function has remained enigmatic for decades.
A team of scientists at VIB and KU Leuven led by professors Joris de Wit and Bart De Strooper has now uncovered that this amyloid precursor protein modulates neuronal signal transmission through binding to a specific receptor.
Modulating this receptor could potentially help treat Alzheimer's or other brain diseases.
The results are published in Science.
More than 30 years have passed since the amyloid precursor protein was first identified.