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

cause early-onset inherited forms of Parkinson's disease, and alterations in the human protein have been associated with more common forms of Parkinson's disease as well. In addition, changes in DJ-1 function are also associated with certain forms of cancer.

Claire Bale, Research Communications Manager at Parkinson's UK, commented: "This important research sheds new light on the root causes of Parkinson's.

"Although mutations in the DJ-1 gene cause rare inherited forms of the condition, we believe that understanding the role of this crucial protein and how it helps keep nerve cells healthy could be important for developing treatments that can help all people with Parkinson's. We look forward to hearing the results of future investigations in this emerging new area."

Professor Outeiro continued: "We reasoned that, by studying the yeast cousins of the human protein we would gain important insight into the function these proteins play, and understand why they may cause disease."

Dr Giorgini added: "Though the human protein DJ-1 has been linked to Parkinson's disease, its central cellular role is not well understood, and thus it is not clear why mutations in this protein cause this devastating disease. Our study sheds new light on what DJ-1 and related proteins are doing at a cellular level, and may thus ultimately have importance for better understanding Parkinson's."

The scientists discovered that the yeast versions of the human protein are important for maintenance of normal lifespan of the yeast cell and are involved in regulation of autophagy a process which the cell employs to breakdown and recycle damaged cellular components. Lifespan and autophagy are central processes in the context of both Parkinson's disease and cancer. This work is critical because it provides a precise cellular role for DJ-1 family proteins, which links to some of the molecular functions previously ascribed to these proteins. This work could u
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Contact: Flaviano Giorgini
fg36@le.ac.uk
07-505-775-198
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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