Do Mutations in the Alpha-synuclein Gene Cause Dopamine-dependent Oxidative Stress and Neurodegeneration in a Genetic Model of Parkinson’s Disease?

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Julie Lotharius, Ph.D.
Lund University, Sweden

Two mutations in the gene for alpha-synuclein have been linked to a genetic form of parkinsonism. Genetic studies commonly utilize transgenic (also called "knock-in" or "knock-out," depending upon whether the gene in question has been inserted or deleted) animal colonies. Dr. Julie Lotharius of the University of Lund (Sweden) will utilize their several colonies of transgenic mice as well as cells from a human mesencephalic tissue line to test her hypothesis that the neurotransmitter dopamine is involved in not only the symptomatic therapy for but the origination and development of Parkinson's disease. Working with Dr. Patrik Brundin, she will attempt an explanation of the potential interaction(s) between dopamine oxidation and mutated alpha-synuclein in the cause of PD.

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