Parkinson’s Disease: Low Proteasome Activity Causes Protein Accumulation, Neurodegeneration


As you probably know, our bodies are extremely complex. Every day, there are multiple processes working to help us live, breathe, work, eat, and more. But did you know that specific parts of our bodies even recycle cell proteins? This breaks down dysfunctional proteins, removes waste from the body, and protects our health. But while protein accumulation builds as someone ages, researchers weren’t sure what triggered this rapid and harmful accumulation.

In patients with neurodegenerative conditions, like Parkinson’s disease, protein aggregates accumulate in the brain to the point of neurotoxicity and cell death. But why do some brains accumulate enough of these to cause a problem, and others do not? Well, according to researchers, it may result from a complex called the proteasome. Find the full results in Molecular Systems Biology.

Proteasome Activity and Neurodegeneration

Researchers wanted to understand how and why age was associated with protein accumulation. First, they chose a subject: killifish, which only live up to 12 months in captivity. As a result of rapid aging, researchers felt killifish would offer the closest insight to human brains.

Next, researchers examined the fish brains at 3 different ages, ranging from very young to very old. Through mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing, researchers identified 9,000 protein groups, of which 4,500 were impacted by aging. RNA and protein levels did not match. After additional testing, researchers discovered heightened levels of ribosomal proteins in the brain of killifish with neurodegeneration.
Protein ratios in the proteasome were also off-balance. Eventually, this was noted as the cause of lowered proteasome activity. Ultimately, lower proteasome activity was also linked to early mortality.

In promoting proteasome activity in the brain, or finding ways to balance protein ratios, researchers may take a step forward in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.

Read the source article here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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