New insights into key protein could help us crack the Parkinson's code

Now and again a piece of research emerges that turns an accepted idea on its head - and a new study published this week in top scientific journal Nature has done just that.

It shows that the protein alpha-synuclein - a key player in Parkinson's - may behave very differently than researchers previously thought.

Alpha-synuclein is the main component of protein that forms sticky clumps called Lewy bodies in the nerve cells that die when people develop Parkinson's.

People who have changes in the alpha-synuclein gene have an increased risk of Parkinson's.

Until now, researchers had believed this protein existed by itself as single units. However this new research suggests that in healthy cells, the protein actually forms very stable 4-unit blocks, which crucially seem to be less likely to form Lewy bodies.

This research may hold the key to understanding what causes Parkinson's, and what goes wrong inside the cells that die in Parkinson's.

It may also hopefully lead to the development of new treatments that can stop Lewy bodies forming and slow or stop the development of Parkinson's entirely.

We're currently funding almost £1million of research projects investigating alpha-synuclein, and these new findings could be the catalyst for more breakthroughs that bring us closer to a cure.

Find out more about our exciting current research projects and let us know what you think about this new discovery in the comments section below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about the key protein Alpha-synuclein being used to help crack the Parkinsons code. I will investigate further, thanks!

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