Amyloid beta (Aβ or Amyloid beta) denotes peptides of 36-43 amino acids in length that are crucially involved in Alzheimer's disease as the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients. The peptides result from the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is cut by certain enzymes to yield Aβ. Aβ molecules can aggregate to form oligomers (known as "seeds") which are believed to be able to induce other Aβ molecules to also take the misfolded oligomeric form, leading to a chain reaction akin to a prion infection. The seeds or the resulting amyloid plaques are toxic to nerve cells. The other protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease, tau protein, also forms such prion-like misfolded oligomers, and there is some evidence that misfolded Aβ can induce tau to misfold.
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