Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yeast model yields insights into Parkinson’s disease

05.12.2003


Scientists who developed the first yeast model of Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been able to describe the mechanisms of an important gene’s role in the disease. Tiago Fleming Outeiro, Ph.D., and Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied the gene’s actions under normal conditions and under abnormal conditions to learn how and when the gene’s product, alpha-synuclein, becomes harmful to surrounding cells. The scientists created a yeast model that expresses the alpha-synuclein gene, which has been implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Yeast models are often used in the study of genetic diseases because they offer researchers a simple system that allows them to clarify how genes work.



The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, funded the study, which appears in the December 5, 2003, issue of Science.

The alpha-synuclein protein, which is found broadly in the brain, has been implicated in several neurodegenerative disorders. Sometimes a mutation or a misfolding of the protein causes the problems; other times there are too many copies of the normal gene. A study earlier this year reported that patients with a rare familial form of PD had too many normal copies of the alpha-synuclein gene, which resulted in a buildup of protein inside brain cells, causing the symptoms of PD.


Drs. Outeiro and Lindquist conducted their study by creating one yeast that expresses wild type synuclein, using the normal gene, and another yeast that expresses two mutant forms, using a mutated version of the gene found in patients with PD.

One theory for the cause of PD is that an aging brain no longer has the capacity to cope with accumulating or misfolding proteins. A normal healthy brain has the ability to clear out excess or mutant proteins through a process known as the quality control system. In the yeast model of PD, when the scientists doubled the expression of the alpha-synuclein gene it "profoundly changed" the fate of the yeast’s quality control system, and alpha-synuclein appeared in large clumps of cells (inclusion bodies). This did not happen when they studied the actions of a single copy of the wild type synuclein. These inclusion bodies have a toxic effect that causes cell death and neurodegeneration.

"Just a twofold difference in expression was sufficient to cause a catastrophic change in behavior," the scientists report in their paper.

"These changes may give insight into important changes that happen when alpha-synuclein is overexpressed in Parkinson’s patients," said Diane Murphy, Ph.D., a program director at the NINDS. "Dr. Lindquist is well known for her studies of yeast models of prion disease, and we are delighted she has extended her research to the important field of Parkinson’s disease."

PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease and is thought to affect 500,000 Americans.


The NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke leads Federal efforts to conduct and support basic and clinical research on diseases of the brain and central nervous system. The agencies are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Yeast Cells Provide Insight into Alpha-Synuclein Biology and Pathobiology," Outeiro, T.F. and Lindquist, S. Science, Vol. 302, pp. 1772-1775.

Margo Warren | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New switch decides between genome repair and death of cells

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins

27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

‘Missing link’ found in the development of bioelectronic medicines

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>