Alzheimer's disease molecules

My professional work is related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. While my role is primarily clinical, I appreciate the scientific process underlying most of what we know about these neurodegenerative disorders.

Since I like to play around with computers, I thought I’d try to generate a few images of what Alzheimer’s disease researchers currently believe are the main culprits. I generated the images from protein data bank (PDB) files using Chimera.

Here’s what the amyloid precursor protein (APP) looks like. Click the image to go to the page where I found the PDB file.


To put it rather simply, it is a structural molecule present in the cell membranes of neurons…

This is the beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (a.k.a. BACE1 but more commonly called beta-secretase 1). Again, click the image to go to the page where I found the PDB file.



Here’s the tau protein.



Update (2017-02-10): For a more interesting and better-written exploration of all this protein stuff, take a look at this article. It includes an amazing graphic that puts mine to shame. But then again, I just do this for kicks.