Washington: Whitehead Institute researchers claim to have identified small molecules that appear to be capable of protecting brain cells from alpha-synuclein toxicity, a hallmark of Parkinson`s disease.
Using this yeast strain, the Lindquist team screened 115,000 small compounds to see which ones alleviate the Parkinson``s-like traits. During a screen, a compound is added to a small amount of yeastFour compounds were found to restore the alpha-synuclein yeast cells`` growth to 50pc of normal yeast cells. Yeast cells that were not treated with the compounds died. The researchers also identified two commercially available compounds with similar chemical structures and used those in further tests. In the study conducted using round worm Caenorhabditis elegans and rat neurons, the first four compounds were able to rescue the round worms, while in the rat neurons, three of the four original compounds and one of the commercial compounds improved the nerve cells`` growth."Those two things are obviously related," said Pavan Auluck, first co-author and a visiting scientist in the Lindquist lab.
"We``re trying to figure out what the connections are between them. And there are a number of ways they can be related," Auluck added."There are very deeply rooted processes that connect protein trafficking and mitochondrial viability," said Lindquist, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a professor of biology at MIT. "That emphasizes that the underlying problem caused by alpha-synuclein is a general cellular defect that is part of the machinery of all eukaryotic cells. The specific problems in Parkinson``s are due to the neurons being particularly sensitive to that process going awry."The study appears in Disease Models and Mechanisms (DMM). ANI
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