Excess Protein Linked to Development of Parkinson's Disease
Feb. 7, 2013 — Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say overexpression of a protein called alpha-synuclein appears to disrupt vital recycling processes in neurons, starting with the terminal extensions of neurons and working its way back to the cells' center, with the potential consequence of progressive degeneration and eventual cell death.
The findings, published in the February 6, 2013 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, have major implications for more fully understanding the causes and mechanisms of Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects an estimated one million Americans.
"This is an important new insight. I don't think anybody realized just how big a role alpha-synuclein played in managing the retrieval of worn-out proteins from synapses and the role of alterations in this process in development of PD," said principal investigator Mark H. Ellisman, PhD, professor of neurosciences and bioengineering and director of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR), based at UC San Diego...