Structural and Functional Studies of the Parkin Ubiquitin Ligase

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Brenda A. Schulman, Ph.D.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Tennessee

Abstract

What role(s) do proteins play in neural disorders with familiar links such as the juvenile recessive form of parkinsonism caused by mutations in the parkin gene? And what influence could this have on classic PD? Dr. Brenda A. Schulman (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis) will try to delineate the manner in which parkin mutations affect the brain's ubiquitin pathway since it is here that protein degradation is regulated, and ubiquitin in found, along with alpha-synuclein, in the telltale Lewy bodies found in PD brain tissue on autopsy.

Progress Report (as of 3/2003)

Dr. Brenda A. Schulman (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital) and her Tennessee group have used their grant to gather preliminary data on the structure of the parkin (gene) protein using X-ray crystallography that can then be used for submission of a long-term proposal to the NIH. In attempts to better understand the fuction(s) of parkin in its multiple mutations, they have identified new compounds that bind to parkin while working with a Columbia University team. These data have been submitted for publicaation in NEURON.

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