Molecular Neuroscience

Polymorphism in the microglial receptor CD33 gene has been linked to late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD), and reduced expression of the CD33 sialic acid-binding domain confers protection. Thus, CD33 inhibition might be an effective therapy against disease progression. Progress toward discovery of selective CD33 inhibitors has been hampered by the absence of an atomic resolution structure.
Although the brain accounts for only 2% of the total body mass, it consumes the most energy. Neuronal metabolism is tightly controlled, but it remains poorly understood how neurons meet their energy demands to sustain synaptic transmission. Here we provide evidence that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)is pivotal to sustain neuronal energy levels upon synaptic activation by adapting the rate of glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration. Furthermore, this metabolic plasticity is required for the expression of immediate-early genes, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation.