Determining the structure of Parkinson’s disease
© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Protein fibrils thought to be one the culprits behind Parkinson’s disease have been imaged in detail for the first time.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that mainly affects the part of the brain responsible for movement. The protein alpha-synuclein, when it accumulates in needle-like fibrils in the brain, is believed to be one of factors that trigger the disease. But until recently, no-one had succeeded in determining the atomic structure of an entire fibril.
Now, a team that included researchers at Roche Pharma Research and Early Development made an alpha-synuclein fibril in a test tube and then used cyro-electron microscopy to image its structure at an atomic resolution. They found that the proteins in the fibril form a helical structure.
This structural knowledge could help researchers to develop a way to diagnose the crippling disease earlier.
- eLife 7, e36402 (2018). doi: 10.7554/eLife.36402
|Biozentrum, UB, Switzerland||0.50|
|F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Switzerland||0.38|
|Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland||0.13|