Another Link in the Role of Alpha Synuclein in PARKINSON’S DISEASE




Another Link in the Role of Alpha Synuclein in PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Travis Dunckley, Ph.D., an assistant professor and research scientist at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona has found that the absence of a particular protein, SMG1, may contribute to the accumulation of alpha synuclein in brain cells of people with PARKINSON’S DISEASE, various forms of dementia and multiple system atrophy.

SMG1 is a gene that helps cells in the manufacture and use of energy created in the mitochondria, the little power sources for each cell.  Dr. Dunckley and his team found that this protein was either very limited or lacking in post mortem brains of people with PARKINSON’S DISEASE and other neurodegenerative diseases.  To arrive at this discovery, they used very advanced genomic techniques to screen hundreds of human chemical regulators of cell function and cell metabolic processes to understand how they relate to the accumulation and aggregation of alpha synuclein. They found that lack of SMG1 was significantly related to the expression of synucleins in cells Knowledge of the specific actions or lack of action of these chemicals may lead to the development of specific drugs to prevent the development of alpha synuclein and its toxicity in brain cells.

The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and the Banner Sun Health Institute, also in Arizona collaborated with Translational Genomics Research Institute and Dr. Dunckley on this study.  Their findings are published in the October 30, 2013 PLOS ONE journal.


Adrienne Henderson-Smith, Donald Chow, Bessie Meechoovet, Meraj Aziz, Sandra A. Jacobson, Holly A. Shill, Marwan N. Sabbagh, John N. Caviness, Charles H. Adler, Erika D. Driver-Dunckley, Thomas G. Beach, Hongwei Yin, Travis Dunckley. SMG1 Identified as a Regulator of Parkinson’s Disease-Associated alpha-Synuclein through siRNA ScreeningPLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e77711 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077711


reviewed by Marcia McCall


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