Researchers have identified a new gene that causes a common form of inherited Parkinsons disease (PD) and whose understanding they believe "will impact not only patients and their families but will open novel avenues of research aimed at identifying and ultimately halting the molecular events that lead to PD."
The international research team reported finding the gene in a mutant form in five families from Spain and the United Kingdom. They have named the protein "dardarin" after the Basque word for tremor. The researchers, led by Jordi Pérez-Tur, Nick Wood, and Andrew Singleton, were seeking to pinpoint the gene that caused a form of PD called PARK8, which was first reported in 2002. Their search was spurred by the knowledge that earlier discoveries of other genetic mutations underlying rare forms of PD had yielded insight into PD and aided design and testing of drug treatments.
Until their studies, it was only known that PARK8 was caused by a mutation in a gene somewhere along a chromosomal region, or locus, that contained about 116 genes. The researchers had identified four families from the Basque region of Spain and one from the United Kingdom that showed evidence of having PARK8 PD. Their systematic analyses of the PARK8 locus led them to track down mutations that all had in the gene encoding dardarin.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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