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A better understanding of the PINK1 enzyme could revolutionize Parkinson's therapy
Physicians have now made a major breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. The experts have identified the structure of a key enzyme that can protect the brain from Parkinson's. A better understanding of this key enzyme will hopefully make it possible to develop effective drugs for Parkinson's in the future.
The scientists at the University of Dundee have now succeeded in identifying the structure of the key enzyme called PINK1. This enzyme appears to be able to protect the brain from Parkinson's. The researchers published the results of their study in the journal "eLIFE".
Research could contribute to the development of new drugs
After a decade of research, scientists have now managed to understand the structure and functioning of PINK1. This gives the experts the opportunity to investigate how PINK1 can play a protective role against Parkinson's, explains Dr. the author Miratul Muqit. The new knowledge could be used in the future to develop new drugs.
Mutations in the PINK1 gene have been found in patients with Parkinson's
Parkinson's is a so-called progressive degenerative disease of the brain, which is still incurable even today. It has been known for some time that mutations in the PINK1 gene have been identified in patients with early forms of Parkinson's. There is therefore great interest in using PINK1 as an approach to Parkinson's therapy. However, the lack of knowledge about the structure of the enzyme has so far been a problem, explains Professor van Aalten. The new research has now created the framework for future studies in which new molecules for the activation of PINK1 can be identified.
PINK1 mutations lead to cell degeneration
PINK1 encodes a special class of enzymes, which is commonly known as kinase, say the doctors. This class of enzymes plays a crucial role in protecting brain cells from stress. However, this protective effect is lost in patients with a PINK1 mutation. This creates a degeneration of the cells that are required for movement control and the typical Parkinson's symptoms are the result.
PINK1 detects damage to mitochondria and then initiates protective measures
Previous research had shown that the main role of the PINK1 enzyme is to detect damage to the energy centers of special cells (mitochondria). A protective effect can then be initiated, which in particular comprises two key proteins (ubiquitin and parkin). This is to reduce the damage that occurs. However, it was unknown exactly how this process works. The experts report that PINK1 has unique control elements that could not be found in other enzymes in this class. These controls explain how Ubiquitin and Parkin can offer protection against Parkinson's.
The current study provides detailed insight into how mutations in hundreds of Parkinson's patients worldwide disrupt the function of the enzyme, said Professor van Aalten in a press release from the University of Dundee.
Research collaboration leads to amazing results
The current study is a good example of collaborative research. The understanding of PINK1 could only be improved through the collaboration of several experts with different expertise. The scientists now have to answer many new interesting questions about the enzyme PINK1, which will have to be examined in more detail in future studies. Her research focuses on identifying the basic aspects of the causes of Parkinson's. We hope to develop new approaches to treating the disease in the future, adds the author Dr. Muqit added.
Basic research is very important to better understand different diseases
The PINK1 protein is the focus of research worldwide. Therefore, the latest findings from the University of Dundee are a groundbreaking step for science. The structure of PINK1 contains many clues as to what exactly is going on with Parkinson's disease. Determining the basic structure of this protein was critical to understanding its cell function and paving the way for the development of drugs for Parkinson's. Appropriate basic research is very important for the understanding and treatment of many diseases, whereby such breakthroughs can only be achieved through the collaboration of different experts. (as)