Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Animal model of Parkinson’s disease reveals striking sensitivity to common environmental toxins

07.09.2005


In findings that support a relationship between agricultural chemicals and Parkinson’s disease, two groups of researchers have found new evidence that loss of DJ-1, a gene known to be linked to inherited Parkinson’s disease, leads to striking sensitivity to the herbicide paraquat and the insecticide rotenone. The two studies were performed with the fruit fly Drosophila, a widely used model organism for studies of human disease, and shed new light on biological connections between inherited and sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease.



The work is reported in Current Biology by two independent groups, one led by Nancy Bonini of the University of Pennsylvania and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the other led by Kyung-Tai Min of the NINDS branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Parkinson’s disease occurs both sporadically and as a result of inheritance of single gene mutations. One of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, it is associated with the progressive and selective loss of a specific population of neurons in the brain, the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta . Exposure to several common environmental toxins, thought to injure neurons through oxidative damage, has been shown to be associated with sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease. During the past decade, researchers have also made remarkable progress in identifying genes responsible for inherited forms of Parkinson’s disease, with the expectation that understanding the function of these genes will elucidate mechanisms behind sporadic Parkinson’s disease. Past work had shown that one form of familial Parkinson’s disease results from a loss of function of a gene called DJ-1.


The fruit fly possesses two versions of the DJ-1 gene, and in the new work, the researchers simulated the human Parkinson’s disease situation by deleting one or both forms of DJ-1 from the fly’s DNA.

Bonini and colleagues showed that flies lacking both forms of DJ-1 activity are normal under standard conditions. However, upon exposure to widely used agricultural agents, including paraquat and rotenone, previously associated with the sporadic form of Parkinson’s disease, the flies show strikingly increased sensitivity and death. These findings suggest that loss of DJ-1 function leads to an increased sensitivity to chemical agents that cause oxidative damage.

Min and his colleagues found that loss of function of one form of fly DJ-1, DJ-1b, caused a compensatory boost in expression of the other form of the gene, DJ-1a. These flies, lacking DJ-1â function but having increased DJ-1á activity, showed extended survival of dopaminergic neurons and resistance to oxidative stress caused by the chemical paraquat, but at the same time they also exhibited acute sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide treatment. The results showed that overexpression of DJ-1a in dopaminergic neurons is sufficient to confer protection against paraquat insult.

Together, the results from the two studies suggest that Drosophila DJ-1 genes, and potentially human DJ-1, play critical roles in the survival of dopaminergic neurons and the response to oxidative cellular stress. In addition, the studies also highlight DJ-1 as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>