This is an interesting commentary on the role of APOE in Alzheimer’s disease and related DNA findings.
In 2009, Roses and colleagues described a stretch of non-coding DNA in a gene called TOMM40 that sits next to APOE on chromosome 19. This stretch of DNA, known by the shorthand 523, varies in length. The length of 523 can determine the extent to which TOMM40 and APOE are expressed.
The discovery was important, Roses says, because the protein encoded by TOMM40, called Tom40, is crucial to healthy mitochondria. Tom40 forms a channel in the outer mitochondrial membrane that is used to import proteins. Without these proteins, mitochondria cannot divide as they should throughout a cell’s life. “It’s a big effect that’s been known about for a decade,” says Roses, “But it’s not well-known in the Alzheimer’s field.” To read this discussion, please follow the following link for the full length paper.