ARTICLE | Targets & Mechanisms

STEP against AD

October 28, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

Yale University researchers have made a case for blocking STEP, a brain-specific phosphatase involved in synaptic signaling and a key player in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease development.1 Knocking down the enzyme forestalled AD symptoms in mice, but it remains unclear whether it can be targeted in humans.

STEP (protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 5 striatum-enriched; PTPN5) ordinarily dephosphorylates the NMDA receptor (NMDAR), a protein complex that strengthens synaptic connections during learning and memory formation. The dephosphorylation causes the receptor to be internalized and degraded...