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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a disorder characterised by a progressive deterioration in memory and other cognitive functions. Neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) are a major pathological hallmark of AD, these are aggregations of paired helical filaments (PHF) comprised of the hyperphosphorylated microtubule associated protein tau. Several kinases, such as glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphorylate tau at sites that are phosphorylated in PHF. Dishevelled 1 (DVL1) is thought to act as a positive regulator of the wnt signalling pathway, and inhibits GSK3β activity preventing β-catenin degradation and thus allowing wnt target gene expression. JNK activation is also regulated by DVL1, however it is unclear if this is via the wnt signalling pathway. These observations suggest a central role for DVL1 in tau phosphorylation and AD and led us to investigate DVL1 as a candidate gene for this disorder. We determined the genomic structure of the DVL1 gene by sequencing and data mining and searched for sequence variations in the coding sequences and flanking introns. The DVL1 gene spans a region of approximately 13.8 kb (not including the 5′ untranslated region) and is encoded by 15 exons. Analysis of over 4.3 kb of sequence, including 98% of exonic sequences and introns 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12, revealed there to be six rare (≤6%) sequence variations. None of these had any association with late onset AD. This would suggest that polymorphic variations in the coding sequences of DVL1 are not important in AD. However further analysis of regulatory regions may lead to the identification of other sequence variations which may be implicated in AD.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular Psychiatry

Publication Date





104 - 109