Background: First proposed by Khachaturian in 1994, the calcium hypothesis postulates that sustained disturbance of intracellular calcium is the leading cause of neurodegenerative disorders. Studies showing alteration in calcium signaling in both sporadic and familial Alzheimer’s disease (AD) support this hypothesis. Intracellular calcium signaling is tightly regulated in time, intensity, and space, and is responsible for a variety of neuronal functions. Calcium influx from the extracellular environment modulates calcium levels, as do intracellular stores in the endoplasmic reticulum. The focus of this study was to test various calcium related genes in both monocytes and neuronal cells. Previous studies have shown that cells infected with Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) exhibit altered protein processing, such as amyloid and tau modification, consistent with those found in AD. We expect to see significant alterations in calcium genes, as well as their protein products in Cpn infected cells. Every calcium gene has a unique function in the cell. Determining which genes are up or down regulated following infection may provide insight into how the neurodegeneration process observed in AD is initiated by Cpn infections.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_balin/5/