Parkinson disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system resulting from the loss of neurons in the brain that produce dopamine. This lowering of dopamine leads to decreased stimulation of the brain's motor cortex. Although scientists have not known the exact cause of the loss of these dopamine-producing neurons, they believe it is related to dysfunctional mitochondria and oxidative stress. Mitochondria are the cell's "power plants," which metabolize oxygen and generate energy. Oxidative stress is the damage caused to cells by reactive oxygen produced during oxygen metabolism.
Although cells have mechanisms in place to protect against oxidative damage, this system can break down in the face of environmental challenges or genetic mutations.
The Emory researchers found that the mitochondrial protein PINK1 normally protects cells from oxidative stress and promotes cell survival by regulating function of the protein TRAP1. When PINK1 is mutated, however, the protective TRAP1 pathway is disrupted, leading to mitochondrial damage.
Other scientists recently have linked early onset Parkinson disease to mutations in both copies of the PINK1 gene (one from each parent). They also have evidence that single-copy mutations in PINK1 are a significant risk factor for the development of later-onset Parkinson disease.
"We now know much more about the effect of PINK1 mutations on the mitochondria and how this novel signaling pathway is disrupted in the development of Parkinson disease," says Lian Li, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology in Emory University School of Medicine and research team leader. "We believe the PINK1 and TRAP1 pathway may be a future target for therapeutic intervention."
Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
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...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine