Amyloid beta peptides have long been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease, but exactly how these tiny proteins wreak havoc in aging brains is not fully understood.
In this week's journal Nature Neuroscience
, Yale researchers led by Stephen Strittmatter, the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and professor of neurobiology, describe the molecular events triggered when amyloid beta joins with cellular prion proteins. The combination triggers damage to both neurons and connections between brain cells that are common in Alzheimer's. The researchers hope that the description of these molecular steps will provide targets for drugs that would halt progression of the disease.