Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery offers molecular insights into link between Parkinson's and pesticides

Date:
June 23, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri School of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have taken some of the first steps toward unraveling the molecular dysfunction that occurs when proteins are exposed to environmental toxins. Their discovery helps further explain recent findings that demonstrate the link between Parkinson's disease and two particular pesticides -- rotenone and paraquat.

In a new article published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine take some of the first steps toward unraveling the molecular dysfunction that occurs when proteins are exposed to environmental toxins. Their discovery helps further explain recent NIH findings that demonstrate the link between Parkinson's disease and two particular pesticides -- rotenone and paraquat.

"Fewer than 5 percent of Parkinson's cases are attributed to genetics, but more than 95 percent of cases have unknown causes," said Zezong Gu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences. "This study provides the evidence that oxidative stress, possibly due to sustained exposure to environmental toxins, may serve as a primary cause of Parkinson's. This helps us begin to unveil why many people, such as farmers exposed to pesticides, have an increased incidence of the disease."

Scientists previously understood that Parkinson's is associated with oxidative stress, which is when electronically unstable atoms or molecules damage cells. The MU study yields more specific information about how oxidative stress causes parkin, a protein responsible for regulating other proteins, to malfunction.

These findings come as the result of collaborative research conducted by Gu and the paper's primary author, Fanjun Meng, an MU visiting scholar from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing Institute of Genomics, as well as colleagues at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of California at San Diego. The article also represents the first published work from researchers at the new MU Center for Translational Neuroscience.

Gu and his with his Burnham colleagues invented a new antibody that allowed them to detect how oxidative stress affected proteins when exposed to a variety of environmental toxins, such as the pesticide rotenone. They then specifically demonstrated how oxidative stress caused parkin proteins to cluster together and malfunction, rather than performing normally by cleaning up damaged proteins.

"This whole process progresses into Parkinson's disease," Gu said. "We illustrated the molecular events that lead to the more common form of the disorder in the vast majority of cases with unknown causes. Knowing this, we can find ways to correct, prevent and reduce the incidence of this disease."

Researchers used mass spectrometry to analyze findings. They measured parkin fragments, pinpointed whether the proteins were modified and where that modification occurred. This enabled them to map the location of parkin oxidation and further compare these events with genetic mutations in patients with Parkinson's disease reported in the literature. Their findings demonstrated that parkin protein oxidation in certain locations corresponds with the location of mutations. They then sought to determine the outcome of the modification -- finding their results to be consistent in multiple disease models, including cell cultures and tissue samples from rodents, monkeys and human postmortem Parkinson's patients.

Gu and Meng hope to extend their investigation into preventive treatments and therapies through work at MU's Center for Botanical Interaction Studies. Created with a new $7.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, MU's center is one of five in the country selected to lead interdisciplinary and collaborative research on botanical dietary supplements.

After Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. Approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's disease are diagnosed each year. By some estimates, at least one million people in the United States have the disease, which has no cure.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fanjun Meng, Dongdong Yao, Yang Shi, Jonathan Kabakoff, Wei Wu, Joshua Reicher, Yuliang Ma, Bernd Moosmann, Eliezer Masliah, Stuart A Lipton, Zezong Gu. Oxidation of the Cysteine-Rich Regions of Parkin Perturbs Its E3 Ligase Activity and Contributes to Protein Aggregation. Molecular Neurodegeneration, 2011; 6 (1): 34 DOI: 10.1186/1750-1326-6-34

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri School of Medicine. "Discovery offers molecular insights into link between Parkinson's and pesticides." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622162312.htm>.
University of Missouri School of Medicine. (2011, June 23). Discovery offers molecular insights into link between Parkinson's and pesticides. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622162312.htm
University of Missouri School of Medicine. "Discovery offers molecular insights into link between Parkinson's and pesticides." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622162312.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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