Saturday, November 12, 2016
Brain Cell ‘Executioner’ Identified - Neuroscience
Despite their different triggers, the same molecular chain of events appears to be responsible for brain cell death from strokes, injuries and even such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have pinpointed the protein at the end of that chain of events, one that delivers the fatal strike by carving up a cell’s DNA. The find, they say, potentially opens up a new avenue for the development of drugs to prevent, stop or weaken the process.
The new experiments, conducted in laboratory-grown cells, build on earlier work by research partners Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., now director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Valina Dawson, Ph.D., professor of neurology. Their research groups found that injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and the rare, fatal genetic disorder Huntington’s disease share a distinct form of “programmed” brain cell death they named parthanatos after the personification of death in Greek mythology and PARP, an enzyme involved in the process.
Source & further reading:http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/brain_cell_executioner_identified
Image: Nucleus of a cell undergoing parthanatos.
Credit: Yingfei Wang and I-Hsun Wu/Johns Hopkins Medicine