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Updated: August 1, 2010 16:28 IST

Gene variant role in Parkinson’s uncovered

PTI
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Former boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease. Scientists claimed to have uncovered that a tiny, gene-regulating snippet of RNA may play a role in the disease.
AP Former boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease. Scientists claimed to have uncovered that a tiny, gene-regulating snippet of RNA may play a role in the disease.

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 to cause 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.

Keywords: Parkinson'smicroRNA



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