Study uncovers possible link between protein and Parkinson’s disease


Author: Sarah McGrathPublished: 10 February 2022

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Death of neurons in the aging brain or Proteins in neurons

‘Autophagy’ refers to a process in which the body’s cells clean out damaged or unnecessary components. Now, research from Yale University, US, has proposed that disruption to the protein ATG-9 – which can be caused by mutations associated with Parkinson’s – may impact this process.

“A standing question in the field,” said Professor Daniel Colón-Ramos, senior author of the study, “is how neurons are able to detect and determine where autophagy must occur. It was this question that initiated the study.”

Seeking to uncover the link between neuron activity and autophagy, the researchers hypothesised that ATG-9 proteins – previously found to be highly concentrated around active neurons – may be the missing connection.

They then uncovered that a mutation linked to Parkinson’s may affect the movement of ATG-9. This, in turn, could affect the autophagy process – suggesting that disturbances to the cycle of these proteins might be associated with some pathological manifestations of Parkinson’s.

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