Friday, February 10, 2012

Researchers discover how mutations in parkin gene cause PD

Structure of the PARK2 protein. Based on PyMOL rendering of PDB

Parkinson's disease researchers at the University at Buffalo have discovered how mutations in the parkin gene cause the disease, which afflicts at least 500,000 Americans and for which there is no cure.

The results are published in the current issue of Nature Communications. The UB findings reveal potential new drug targets for the disease as well as a screening platform for discovering new treatments that might mimic the protective functions of parkin. UB has applied for patent protection on the screening platform.

"This is the first time that human dopamine neurons have ever been generated from Parkinson's disease patients with parkin mutations," says Jian Feng, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the study's lead author. ...

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