A very strange but crucial phenomenon occurs in the DNA of B and T cells that comprise the adaptive immune system: their DNA is cut and pasted in different, random combinations during a very complex process that ultimately helps to fights infection. Nowhere else in the body at any stage of development has this been observed, and for good reason: cutting and pasting DNA into random combinations could lead to cancer or other diseases. But new research demonstrates that this process (called somatic recombination), might also occur in a gene called APP that has been shown to be important for the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Are other genes also somatically recombined in neurons from AD patients, and is this process crucial to the development of AD? If so, what is the molecular mechanism? And if we can work out the molecular mechanism, can we use this knowledge to develop new drugs that would treat or prevent AD?
Somatic Recombination in AD