The endosomal network is a complex system of many parts responsible for moving endosomes within cells. Endosomes are membrane-bound packages used to transfer material in the cell to destinations such as lysosomes, where it is broken down, or a variety of other locations. Dysfunction in the overall system of autophagy, in which wastes and broken structures are sent to the lysosome for recycling, is a feature of aging and neurodegenerative diseases in particular. The researchers here focus on failure in the endosomal network, and find a way to patch it up a little – though it is unclear as to how far removed their point of intervention is from fundamental forms of damage that cause aging. This approach appears to improve the situation in Alzheimer’s disease, probably by allowing cells to somewhat better dismantle the amyloid and tau protein aggregates that are associated with the condition. It is, in any case, an interesting take on the problem of declining autophagy with aging, and may turn out to be relevant in many other tissues and conditions.
Brain tissue from people with Alzheimer’s disease shows clumping of two types of proteins. One, amyloid beta, accumulates outside
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