Researchers reveal new molecular mechanism for Parkinson's disease risk
In about a fifth of the cases of Parkinson’s disease, look to a small, malfunctioning protein in the lysosome as a risk factor, say University of Michigan researchers.
Lysosomes are the garbage collectors of cells. These organelles are responsible for breaking down the “trash” in the cell—misfolded proteins, worn out organelles—that cells collect in a process called autophagy. Autophagy depends closely on lysosome function, and when lysosomes malfunction and this process is disrupted, causing cellular debris to build up, various disorders can occur. Many of these are degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Tay-Sachs disease.
Now, U-M researchers have discovered how a mutated protein called TMEM175 acts as a risk factor in about 20% of cases of Parkinson’s disease. In Parkinson’s, nerve cells in the area …
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