Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Penn Team Finds "Molecular Chaperones" Can Halt Progress Of Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies And Possibly Humans

Date:
December 21, 2001
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania
Summary:
Using fruit fly models of Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a class of proteins known as "molecular chaperones" can block the progression of neurodegenerative disease in Drosophila melanogaster. In addition, the group has found evidence that similar pathways may operate in Parkinson’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative disorders in humans.

PHILADELPHIA – Using fruit fly models of Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a class of proteins known as "molecular chaperones" can block the progression of neurodegenerative disease in Drosophila melanogaster. In addition, the group has found evidence that similar pathways may operate in Parkinson’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative disorders in humans.

Related Articles


The findings will be published in the journal Science, as part of its Science Express web site, on Dec. 20. They suggest that activation of molecular chaperones may be an effective approach in the treatment of several human neurodegenerative diseases, senior author Nancy M. Bonini said.

"Our work indicates that up-regulation of a molecular chaperone called Hsp70 can prevent neuronal decay in a fruit fly model of Parkinson’s disease," said Bonini, Penn professor of biology and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "We’ve also found some of the same molecular chaperone pathology in tissue taken from people with Parkinson’s disease, suggesting that these molecules may play the same role in humans as in flies."

Bonini and colleagues in Penn’s School of Medicine also found molecular chaperones in tissue from people afflicted with other neurodegenerative diseases associated with similar protein pathology, including a variant of Alzheimer’s disease.

"These data suggest that altered chaperone activity may be involved in the progression of Parkinson’s disease, and that chaperones such as Hsp70 may be a critical part of the neuronal arsenal that fights neurodegenerative disease," said Pavan K. Auluck, a Penn M.D./Ph.D. student who is lead author on the Science paper.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common human neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by tremors, postural rigidity and progressive deterioration of dopaminergic neurons in specific areas of the brain. Despite the evolutionary gulf separating humans and fruit flies, neurotoxicity unfolds in a similar manner in both species. Like humans, Drosophila melanogaster experiences neuronal loss upon expression of alpha-synuclein, a protein implicated in the onset of Parkinson’s disease in both species.

"We observed that flies expressing alpha-synuclein had lost about half their dopaminergic neurons in specific brain areas by 20 days of age," Bonini said. "But when alpha-synuclein and Hsp70 were expressed simultaneously, these aged fruit flies exhibited normal numbers of these neurons. In fact, in the presence of Hsp70, the same number of neurons were present at 20 days of age as in flies just one day old."

In another group of flies, the Penn team suppressed the activity of a Drosophila protein analogous to Hsp70, known as Hsc4, and found that these flies showed enhanced sensitivity to alpha-synuclein, with marked neural degeneration at just one day of age. Both Hsp70 and Hsc4 are thought to function by untangling misfolded proteins, mitigating the harmful effects of inappropriately configured proteins.

"These studies emphasize the sensitivity of dopaminergic neurons to chaperone levels and suggest that endogenous chaperones may normally protect against alpha-synuclein toxicity by delaying the onset of degeneration," Auluck, Bonini and their colleagues write in Science.

The Penn researchers studied neural decay among flies expressing alpha-synuclein by tagging and counting numbers of dopaminergic neurons, the same type of neurons that degenerate in Parkinson’s disease in humans.

Auluck and Bonini were joined on the Science paper by H.Y. Edwin Chan, a postdoctoral researcher in the Bonini lab, and John Q. Trojanowski and Virginia M.-Y. Lee, both professors of pathology and laboratory medicine in Penn’s School of Medicine and co-directors of Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. The work was funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania. "Penn Team Finds "Molecular Chaperones" Can Halt Progress Of Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies And Possibly Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011221081755.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania. (2001, December 21). Penn Team Finds "Molecular Chaperones" Can Halt Progress Of Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies And Possibly Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011221081755.htm
University Of Pennsylvania. "Penn Team Finds "Molecular Chaperones" Can Halt Progress Of Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies And Possibly Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011221081755.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman who blogged for years about her son&apos;s constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins