amyloid precursor protein

is found in many tissues besides brain, but its functions are largely unknown. It is anchored across the cell membrane, so part of it is inside and part of it is outside the cell. Enzymes called secretases snip it apart into three protein fragments, two of which are released outside the cell and one inside. One of those which is found outside the cell is made of amyloid beta peptides. It's speculated that the creation of amyloid plaque is a byproduct of a misregulation in normal APP processing. Mutation in the APP is thought to be involved in early-onset Alzheimer's; the APP gene is located on chromosome 21, at 21q21.

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