Gene variant role in Parkinson`s `uncovered`

Updated: Aug 01, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: In a finding which pave the way
for an effective treatment for Parkinson`s, scientists claimed
to have uncovered that a tiny, gene-regulating snippet of RNA
may play a role in the disease.

In a study, an international team, led by Stanford
University, has found an RNA fragment known to be implicated
in Parkinson`s has caused the death of neurons in the brains
of fruit flies, the `New Scientist` reported.

In fact, they have shown that a microRNA sequence
which suppresses certain genes is linked to the death of brain
cells in fruit flies.

For the study, the team studied a gene called LRRK2.

A mutant form of LRRK2, common in Jews of European
descent and people from north Africa, is known to be involved
in the development of Parkinson`s but exactly how was actually
unclear until now.

Fruit flies with the mutant form of LRRK2 also
had a disrupted microRNA pathway associated with the gene, and
accumulated toxic proteins that killed motor-coordinating
neurons in the brain.

Adding the microRNA back in helped to correct this
process, according to team leader Bingwei Lu.