Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists uncover potential drug target to block cell death in Parkinson's disease

Date:
January 10, 2013
Source:
Scripps Research Institute
Summary:
Oxidative stress is a primary villain in a host of diseases that range from cancer and heart failure to Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Now, scientists have found that blocking the interaction of a critical enzyme may counteract the destruction of neurons associated with these neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting a potential new target for drug development.

Oxidative stress is a primary villain in a host of diseases that range from cancer and heart failure to Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that blocking the interaction of a critical enzyme may counteract the destruction of neurons associated with these neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting a potential new target for drug development.

Related Articles


These findings appear in the January 11, 2013 edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

During periods of cellular stress, such as exposure to UV radiation, the number of highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules can increase in cells, resulting in serious damage. However, relatively little is known about the role played in this process by a number of stress-related enzymes.

In the new study, the TSRI team led by Professor Philip LoGrasso focused on an enzyme known as c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK). Under stress, JNK migrates to the mitochondria, the part of the cell that generates chemical energy and is involved in cell growth and death. That migration, coupled with JNK activation, is associated with a number of serious health issues, including mitochondrial dysfunction, which has long been known to contribute to neuronal death in Parkinson's disease.

The new study showed for the first time that the interaction of JNK with a protein known as Sab is responsible for the initial JNK localization to the mitochondria in neurons. The scientists also found blocking JNK mitochondrial signaling by inhibiting JNK interaction with Sab can protect against neuronal damage in both cell culture and in the brain.

In addition, by treating JNK with a peptide inhibitor derived from a mitochondrial membrane protein, the team was able to induce a two-fold level of protection of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, the brain region devastated by Parkinson's disease.

The study noted that this inhibition leaves all other cell signaling intact, which could mean potentially fewer side effects in any future therapies.

"This may be a novel way to prevent neuron degeneration," said LoGrasso. "Now we can try to make compounds that block that translocation and see if they're therapeutically viable."

The first author of the study, "Blocking c-jun-N-terminal Kinase (JNK) Translocation to the Mitochondria Prevents 6-hydroxydopamine-induced Toxicity in vitro and in vivo" is Jeremy W. Chambers, formerly of TSRI and currently at Florida International University. Other authors include Shannon Howard, also of TSRI.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grant Number U01NS057153-04) and by The Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. W. Chambers, S. Howard, P. V. LoGrasso. Blocking c-jun-N-terminal Kinase (JNK) Translocation to the Mitochondria Prevents 6-hydroxydopamine-induced Toxicity in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.421354

Cite This Page:

Scripps Research Institute. "Scientists uncover potential drug target to block cell death in Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110152630.htm>.
Scripps Research Institute. (2013, January 10). Scientists uncover potential drug target to block cell death in Parkinson's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110152630.htm
Scripps Research Institute. "Scientists uncover potential drug target to block cell death in Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110152630.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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