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Using your loaf to fight brain disease
Date:3/31/2014

A humble ingredient of bread baker's yeast has provided scientists with remarkable new insights into understanding basic processes likely involved in diseases such as Parkinson's and cancer.

In a new study published today (Monday March 31) in the prestigious journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science), the team from Germany, Leicester, and Portugal detail a new advance describing for the first time a key feature in cellular development linked to the onset of these devastating diseases.

The research team is from the University Medical Center Goettingen, University of Leicester, and Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon, directed by long-time collaborators and senior authors Professor Tiago Outeiro and Dr Flaviano Giorgini.

Professor Outeiro, of the University Medical Center Goettingen, Goettingen and Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon, said: "This work shows how taking advantage of simple model organisms might help us speed up the discovery of more complex biological processes. Yeast cells are really excellent living test tubes, with a powerful toolbox that enabled us to learn about the underpinnings of complex human disorders."

Dr Giorgini, of the world-renowned Department of Genetics, at the University of Leicester, added: "We are tremendously excited by our results. The family of proteins under investigation have always been a bit of a "black box", and a true understanding of what these proteins do at a cellular level - and why they are important - has remained elusive. This work provides a step into this darkness."

The current research takes advantage of the simplicity and genetic power of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to understand basic cellular processes underlying Parkinson's disease. The team studied a family of proteins in yeast (Hsp31, Hsp32, Hsp33, and Hsp34) which are related to a human protein known as DJ-1. Mutations in the human DJ-1 protein
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Contact: Flaviano Giorgini
fg36@le.ac.uk
07-505-775-198
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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