The work details how a protein called alpha-synuclein interacting with the brain chemical dopamine can lead to protein misfolding and neuronal death.
Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disease which results in loss of motor control and cognitive function. Although the cause isn't known precisely, the disease involves the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical important in neuronal signaling. The disease also involves a protein called alpha-synuclein which aggregates in the neurons of people with the disease.
Kagan Kerman, a chemist in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, and Ian R. Brown, a neuroscientist who founded UTSC's Centre for the Neurobiology of Stress in the Department of Biological Sciences, looked at the way dopamine interacts with alpha-synuclein to form aggregates that may be toxic to neurons.
"This is very fundamental," says Kagan Kerman. "It gives us a new point of view of the misfolding proteins and how they are affected by dopamine."
These sorts of interactions are often studied using microscopy. But the UTSC researchers decided to use an electroanalytic technique called voltammetry. By studying tiny changes in electric current as dopamine and alpha-synuclein interacted they were able to determine details about the early phases of the interaction.
Using the technique, they were able to detail how changes in pH levels and ionic strength of the solution affected the interaction. They found that at higher pH levels and higher ionic strengths, dopamine interacted much more strongly with alpha-synuclein, forming aggregates more quickly.
The results could have implications for understanding and treating the disease. Normally dopamine is contained in structures called vesicles, in which pH levels are low and dopamine is unlikely to interact with alpha-synuclein. Outside of the vesicles dopamine encounters higher pH levels and, according to the new research, is much more likely to interact to create aggregates.
The analysis was done using chemicals deposited onto screen-printed electrodes only 12.5 mm by 4 mm. The electrodes were manufactured at Osaka University, where Kerman completed his PhD work. Because they are so small, the electrodes allowed analysis to be done on tiny samples.
The technique is a potentially quicker and cheaper way to study protein misfolding, and could be automated to screen drugs that might treat the disease, says Brown.
The research was published in Chemical Neuroscience, published by the American Chemical Society.
Kagan Kerman | EurekAlert!
How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.01.2018 | Life Sciences