Especially in cases of early manifestation of the disease mutations in the so-called parkin gene are of great significance. In a collaborative effort the groups of Dr. Konstanze Winklhofer (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich) and Dr. Daniel Krappmann (GSF – Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg) have now been able to reveal a novel function for the Parkin protein.
The scientists could show that Parkin prevents the induction of neuronal cell death. As reported in the “Journal of Neuroscience“, the protein activates a survival mechanism which had been known for its prominent role in immune response.
Usually, Parkinson’s disease occurs after the age of 50 and in Germany about 400,000 people are affected. It is characterized by a decline of neurons in the so-called Substantia Nigra, a structure in the midbrain that produces dopamine. The resulting deprivation of this messenger substance causes symptoms like muscular tremor at rest and restricted mobility and even complete immobility. Characteristic deposits are found in the brain, the Lewy corpuscles.
Little is known about the causes of Parkinson’s disease. It has only been known for a few years that ten to fifteen per cent of all cases are associated with mutations in certain genes.
“The parkin gene is of special interest here”, says Winklhofer. “One effect of its inactivation is that the Parkin protein loses its physiological function. This genetic defect plays a role for hereditary Parkinson’s disease, which may lead to an early onset of the disease.”
However, inactivation of the Parkin protein could also contribute to sporadic forms of the disease. In these cases massive oxidative stress probably results in misfolding and aggregation of the protein. “Interestingly, misfolding of Parkin proteins has recently been observed in the brain of patients with sporadic Parkinson’s disease”, Winklhofer reports.
The scientists could now show in their study that Parkin protects the neuronal cells by mediating the activation of the nuclear protein NF-?B (“Nuclear Factor-kappaB“). This protein is known for triggering a survival programme in many human cells, which prevents cell death under stress conditions. The experiments indicate that mutations in the parkin gene result in an impaired activation of NF-?B.
“This, however, promotes an enhanced susceptibility of neurons to stress-induced cell death”, says Winklhofer. “Further studies will now have to show whether these findings about the function of Parkin in the activation of cellular survival programmes can contribute to the development of new strategies for the treatment of Parkinson’s patients.”
Michael van den Heuvel | alfa
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences