Unravelling the biology of parkinsonism

Unravelling the biology of parkinsonism
Credit: University of Bristol

Scientists have taken another step towards understanding the causes of parkinsonism by identifying what's happening at a cellular level to potentially help develop future treatments.

Parkinsonism is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that share symptoms with Parkinson's disease.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, and their Australia-based collaborators at the University of Queensland, have shown that a , known as a mutation, impairs the ability to transport proteins correctly within cells.

A reduction in these proteins could help to explain why the body loses in the part of the brain responsible for producing the , which helps control and co-ordinate body movements and underpins parkinsonism.

The researchers were able to pinpoint the role of a mutation in the VPS26A gene, which is known to be linked to parkinsonism.

The results, published online this week in the Journal of Cell Biology [August 15th], reveal that the VPS26 mutation cannot bind the cargo adaptor, SNX27, which impairs the cell's ability to transport a sub-set of cargo proteins to their correct destinations. Some of these cargo proteins are already linked to Parkinson's disease, which affects one in 500 people in the UK.

Dr Kirsty McMillan, from the laboratory of Professor Peter Cullen in the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, said: "By investigating mutations associated with parkinsonism, we have discovered another link between defects in protein trafficking and the pathology of disease. This research therefore provides additional insight into the molecular pathways involved in parkinsonism and provides new ."


Explore further

New insights could help in battle to beat Parkinson's disease

More information: Kirsty J. McMillan et al. Atypical parkinsonism–associated retromer mutant alters endosomal sorting of specific cargo proteins, The Journal of Cell Biology (2016). DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201604057
Journal information: Journal of Cell Biology

Citation: Unravelling the biology of parkinsonism (2016, August 22) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-08-unravelling-biology-parkinsonism.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more