Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parkinson's disease: Parkin protects from neuronal cell death

Date:
March 1, 2013
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)
Summary:
Researchers have identified a novel signal transduction pathway, which activates the parkin gene and prevents stress-induced neuronal cell death.

Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich identify a novel signal transduction pathway, which activates the parkin gene and prevents stress-induced neuronal cell death.

Related Articles


Parkinson's disease is the most common movement disorder and the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. It is characterized by the loss of dopamin-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, a region in the midbrain, which is implicated in motor control. The typical clinical signs include resting tremor, muscle rigidity, slowness of movements, and impaired balance. In about 10% of cases Parkinson's disease is caused by mutations in specific genes, one of them is called parkin.

"Parkinson-associated genes are particularly interesting for researchers, since insights into the function and dysfunction of these genes allow conclusions on the pathomechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease," says Dr. Konstanze Winklhofer of the Adolf Butenandt Institute at the LMU Munich, who is also affiliated with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). Winklhofer and her colleagues had previously observed that parkin can protect neurons from cell death under various stress conditions. In the course of this project, it became obvious that a loss of parkin function impairs the activity and integrity of mitochondria, which serve as the cellular power stations. In their latest publication, Winklhofer and coworkers uncovered the molecular mechanism that accounts for parkin's neuroprotective action.

"We discovered a novel signaling pathway that is responsible for the neuroprotective activity of parkin," Winklhofer reports. The central player of this pathway is a protein called NEMO, which is activated by the enzymatic attachment of a linear chain of ubiquitin molecules. This reaction is promoted by parkin, thereby enabling NEMO to activate a signal cascade, which ultimately leads to the expression of a specific set of genes. Winklhofer's team identified one essential gene targeted by this pathway, which turned out to code for the mitochondrial protein OPA1. OPA1 maintains the integrity of mitochondria and prevents stress-induced neuronal cell death.

"These findings suggest that strategies to activate this signal pathway or to enhance the synthesis of OPA1 in cells exposed to stress could be of therapeutic benefit," Winklhofer points out.

The newly identified signal pathway may also be relevant in the context of other neurological conditions that are characterized by the loss of specific neurons. Konstanze Winklhofer and her group are already engaged in further projects designed to determine whether other molecules regulated by this pathway might provide targets for therapeutic interventions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne Kathrin Müller-Rischart, Anna Pilsl, Patrick Beaudette, Maria Patra, Kamyar Hadian, Maria Funke, Regina Peis, Alexandra Deinlein, Carolin Schweimer, Peer-Hendrik Kuhn, Stefan F. Lichtenthaler, Elisa Motori, Silvana Hrelia, Wolfgang Wurst, Dietrich Trümbach, Thomas Langer, Daniel Krappmann, Gunnar Dittmar, Jörg Tatzelt, Konstanze F. Winklhofer. The E3 Ligase Parkin Maintains Mitochondrial Integrity by Increasing Linear Ubiquitination of NEMO. Molecular Cell, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.01.036

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Parkinson's disease: Parkin protects from neuronal cell death." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122507.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). (2013, March 1). Parkinson's disease: Parkin protects from neuronal cell death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122507.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Parkinson's disease: Parkin protects from neuronal cell death." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122507.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

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
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. 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