The Role of Presenilin Genes in Learning and Memory in C. elegans may Reveal Early Occurring Memory Deficits in Alzheimer's Disease

Jacqueline Rose aims to answer crucial questions about learning and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In the later stages of the disease, patients’ memory and cognitive abilities decrease, eventually leading to dementia and death. Early detection of Alzheimer’s is difficult because a large amount of brain dysfunction must occur before memory and cognitive disabilities become evident. However, researchers have been able to link mutations in a group of genes, called Presenilins, to the most aggressive form of Alzheimer’s, called Familial Alzheimer’s Disease. Two presenilin genes have been identified in the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Rose is using C. elegans as a model to analyze how mutations in these genes affect learning and memory. She hopes knowledge from this research will help characterize learning and memory deficits of Alzheimer’s patients during the early stages of the disease.