Bridging integrator 1, known as BIN1, is the second most common risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, according to genome-wide studies of genetic variants. Yet, scientists know little about what this protein does in the brain.
Now a new preclinical study has discovered that a lack of BIN1 leads to a defect in the transmission of neurotransmitters that activate the brain cell communication allowing us to think, remember and behave. Led by Gopal Thinakaran, PhD, of the University of South Florida Health (USF Health) Morsani College of Medicine and colleagues at the University of Chicago, the study was published March 10 in Cell Reports.
Approximately 40% of people with Alzheimer’s disease have one of three variations in the BIN1 gene – a glitch in a single DNA building block (nucleotide) that heightens their risk for the neurodegenerative disease, said the paper’s senior author Dr. Thinakaran, a professor of molecular medicine at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and associate dean for neuroscience research at the Morsani College of Medicine.