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TRIM11 May Protect Against Tauopathies, New Study Finds

TRIM11 may protect against tauopathies like Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Science has found. Tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins are suspected of having a role in protein quality control in higher organisms, and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere examined 70 human TRIMs to home in on a handful that seemed to suppress tau aggregation, a hallmark of tauopathies. One in particular — TRIM11 — was present at lower levels in postmortem brains from nearly two dozen individuals with Alzheimer's disease, suggesting it might be downregulated in the disease. In cell models, the researchers found that TRIM11 appears to prevent spontaneous and seeded tau aggregation and keeps tau in its soluble form. Further, in a mouse model of tauopathy, they found that upregulating TRIM11 suppresses tau pathology and neuroinflammation and improves cognition and motor ability. "Not only do these findings tell us that TRIM11 could play an important role in protecting people from Alzheimer's and similar diseases, but we also see that we might be able to develop future therapies that replenish TRIM11 in individuals with lower levels," senior author, Xiaolu Yang from Penn says in a statement.