Parkinson's Disease Breakthroughs

Scientists at the Tanz Centre have contributed to the understanding of Parkinson’s disease through several breakthroughs, including:

  1. Identifying the protective role of PINK1 protein to suppress neuronal death and loss-of-function effects induced by PD-linked mutations (2004).
  1. 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.
  1. Discovering that Corticobasal Degeneration can be caused by mutations in the progranulin gene (2006).
  1. Identifying several extended families with mutations in the Parkin, DJ-1, PINK1, LRRK2 and GBA genes (2000-2006).
  1. 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).