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LA JOLLA, CA – July 24, 2013 – Biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a significant discovery that could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for Parkinson’s disease.
The findings, recently published online ahead of print in the journal Molecular and Cell Biology, focus on an enzyme known as parkin, whose absence causes an early-onset form of Parkinson’s disease. Precisely how the loss of this enzyme leads to the deaths of neurons has been unclear. But the TSRI researchers showed that parkin’s loss sharply reduces the level of another protein that normally helps protect neurons from stress.