Parkinson's Disease Breakthroughs
Scientists at the Tanz Centre have contributed to the understanding of Parkinson’s disease through several breakthroughs, including:
- Identifying the protective role of PINK1 protein to suppress neuronal death and loss-of-function effects induced by PD-linked mutations (2004).
- Characterizing regulation of α-synuclein solubility in neurons by specific brain proteins, a process that is disrupted by PD-linked mutations in α-synuclein (2006). Identification of these factors has implications for understanding PD pathogenesis.
- Discovering that Corticobasal Degeneration can be caused by mutations in the progranulin gene (2006).
- Identifying several extended families with mutations in the Parkin, DJ-1, PINK1, LRRK2 and GBA genes (2000-2006).
- Discovering that the Parkinson's disease-linked A30P mutant form of α-Synuclein displays defective membrane binding, a feature that was not observed for the naturally occurring murine protein (which has an A53T substitution like the human PD-causing mutant form of α-synuclein) and human wild-type proteins. These findings suggest that the various Parkinson’s disease-causing mutants may have different physiological consequences in vivo and could possibly contribute to early onset Parkinson's disease via unique mechanisms (2000, 2002).