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Weekly Colloquium 12/5

"Platelet GPIbα and Aβ Fibrillization"

11/26/2013

The campus community is invited to a presentation by Dr. Jin Xu, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UMass Lowell:

"A Genetic Variant of Platelet GPIbα Accelerates Aβ Fibrillization"

Thursday, Dec. 5
12:30-1:30 p.m.
O'Leary 222

The process of amyloid beta (Aβ) aggregation is associated with neuron loss and dementia in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent advances in AD research have revealed that early-stage Aβ aggregates such as soluble oligomers--rather than mature Aβ fibrils--exhibit neurotoxic properties. Because Aβ plaques have been found in the brains of both AD patients and normal elderly persons, it is believed that endogenous factors regulate the process and kinetics of Aβ fibrilization and therefore may provide a novel therapeutic modality for AD treatment. Dr. Xu’s studies revealed a connection between platelet GPIbα and Aβ amyloidosis. In vitro biochemical and biophysical experiments demonstrated that a genetic variant of GPIbα is a strong promoter of Aβ fibrillization and shortens the early stages of Aβ aggregation, which are manifested as toxic low molecular weight aggregates. Subsequent cell viability and apoptosis assays using cultured neuroblastoma cells indicated that Aβ cytotoxicity was significantly attenuated in the presence of this protein. All of these results suggested that the GPIbα variant--being an accelerator of Aβ fibrillization--could reduce Aβ neurotoxicity by shifting the Aβ aggregation pathway and thereby curtailing the early period of amyloidosis. 

Jin Xu is the director of the MBMC Protein Analysis and Characterization Laboratory and an assistant professor in the UMass Lowell Department of Chemistry. Dr. Xu currently oversees and actively participates in protein structural/functional studies, protein product characterization and analytical development at MBMC. With his expertise in protein chemistry and biophysics, Dr. Xu also designs and conducts studies on the relationship between protein folding and protein productivity/quality. Dr. Xu received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of North Texas.

All faculty, staff, and students are welcome. No reservations are necessary.

This colloquium is sponsored by the Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences.