Toward a better understanding of Parkinson's disease

July 4, 2018, McGill University
Immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein showing positive staining (brown) of an intraneural Lewy-body in the Substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. Credit: Wikipedia

A new study, published today in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, moves researchers closer to understanding one of the crucial proteins involved in Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and commonly affects patients over 60 years of age. It is caused by the degeneration of neurons that are located in the mid-brain and are involved in the dopamine system. One of the causes of the disease is the failure to clear away the damaged mitochondria within these neurons. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells, creating energy for the cell.

Mutations in a protein, parkin, are responsible for a genetic form of the disease. Now, by using powerful beams of x-rays, a McGill-based research team, led by Kalle Gehring, has been able to visualize the steps of activation of this crucial protein. With funding from the Michael J Fox Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the team is learning how parkin is regulated within cells. This research offers hope for using as a target for to slow or prevent the progression of Parkinson's disease.

Explore further: Unleashing the watchdog protein

More information: Véronique Sauvé et al. Mechanism of parkin activation by phosphorylation, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41594-018-0088-7

Related Stories

Unleashing the watchdog protein

May 9, 2013
McGill University researchers have unlocked a new door to developing drugs to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. Collaborating teams led by Dr. Edward A. Fon at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The ...

Researchers identify new 'druggable' target for sporadic Parkinson's disease

June 1, 2016
Research at the Buck Institute shows the same mechanisms that lead to neuronal cell death in mice genetically fated to develop Parkinson's disease (PD) are involved in the much more common sporadic form of the age-related, ...

Team identifies mechanism of dopaminergic neuronal death inhibition using stress hormone cortisol

April 26, 2017
DGIST's research team has found a candidate substance that can prevent and cure Parkinson's disease. By using this substance, the team also has identified the mechanism of dopaminergic neuronal death inhibition.

Study uncovers cause of cell death in Parkinson's disease

February 26, 2018
A University of Guelph researcher has discovered one of the factors behind nerve cell death in Parkinson's disease, unlocking the potential for treatment to slow the progression of this fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

Recommended for you

Researchers trace Parkinson's damage in the heart

July 13, 2018
A new way to examine stress and inflammation in the heart will help Parkinson's researchers test new therapies and explore an unappreciated way the disease puts people at risk of falls and hospitalization.

Study raises doubts on a previous theory of Parkinson's disease

July 6, 2018
Parkinson's disease was first described by a British doctor more than 200 years ago. The exact causes of this neurodegenerative disease are still unknown. In a study recently published in eLife, a team of researchers led ...

Drug protects neurons in Parkinson's disease

June 27, 2018
Systemic treatment of animal models with israpidine, a calcium channel inhibitor, reduced mitochondrial stress that might cause Parkinson's disease, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of Clinical ...

Half of those on Parkinson's drugs may develop impulse control problems

June 20, 2018
Over time, half of the people taking certain drugs for Parkinson's disease may develop impulse control disorders such as compulsive gambling, shopping or eating, according to a study published in the June 20, 2018, online ...

New evidence sheds light on how Parkinson's disease may happen

June 14, 2018
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have identified unexpected new key players in the development of an early onset form of Parkinson's disease called Parkinsonism. These key players are ...

Scientists unravel molecular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease

June 12, 2018
Detailed brain cell analysis has helped researchers uncover new mechanisms thought to underlie Parkinson's disease.

0 comments

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

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.