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Protein Interactions may Cause Co-occuring Neurological Diseases

A collaborative study investigated how neuronal proteins involved in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, interact and lead to the development of unique complexes. The study, which was performed by investigators from the Univeristy of California, San Diego and San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).

Results of the study explained why Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s co-occur with each other. According to the researchers, the interaction of a-synuclein (a-syn, which is inlvoved in Parkinson’s) and Abeta amyloid (which leads to the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s) results in the formation of unique “hybrid” complexes that eventually lead to the development of combined neurodegenerative diseases. Through a computer modeling, the investigators found out that the interaction might develop a hybrid protein with a small hole called “nanopore,”which can change neurological activities.

“This sort of modeling, to determine the structure of these complexes, was never before possible,” said Dr. Eliezer Masliah, professor of neurosciences and pathology in the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the study’s lead investigator.”With this novel technology, we have come to a new understanding of these combined neurological diseases, and have a model for developing new drugs to treat them.”

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