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Your Parkinson's News Update for the Week of 8/24/20

Monday August 24, 2020
UCSD Scientists Create Visualization of
Protein Linked to Parkinson’s
Cell and Nature via Times of San Diego
Scientists studying the primary causes of Parkinson's have focused on mutations of the protein known as leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, or LRRK2.
UCSD researchers Elizabeth Villa and her colleagues used cryo- electron tomography, a type of cryo-electron microscopy, to view LRRK2 in its natural environment within cells and describe its structure at a level previously unseen. Villa and team produced the first visualizations of LRRK2 inside its natural cellular environment and the first high-resolution blueprint of the protein. These depictions can describe and potentially prevent LRRK2's binding to cellular tracks called microtubules, acting as a roadblock for motors that move along these tracks.
Can a Healthy Diet Reduce Risk of Parkinson's?
Neurology via Medical Xpress
Looking at individual food groups, the researchers found that eating more vegetables, nuts, legumes and consuming a moderate amount of alcohol were all associated with a lower risk of having three or more of symptoms that commonly precede Parkinson's. Moderate alcohol consumption was considered no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
"While this study does not show cause and effect, it certainly provides yet another reason for getting more vegetables, nuts and legumes in your diet," said study author Samantha Molsberry, Ph.D., of Harvard University in Boston, Mass. "More research is needed to determine whether eating a healthy diet could delay or even prevent the development of Parkinson's disease among people who have these preceding symptoms already."
Unique Protein Structures Could Hold the Key
to Treatment for Parkinson's
Nature Partner Journal via Medical Xpress
Scientists at the University Bath in the UK have discovered a series of protein structures known as alpha-synuclein (αS). Abundant in all human brains, aS is thought to be highly relevant to the onset of Parkinson's.
"Professor Jody Mason and his team from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry examined how αS misfolds in the presence of phospholipids. They discovered a series of misfolded protein structures that have never been observed before. These αS fibers were larger than any previously reported and took on a striking variety of shapes. Some formed flat ribbons, others appeared as long, wave-like helices, while others still were more compact and bulkier.
The Bath researchers hope their discovery will mark the start of a new era in Parkinson's research. Their work lays the foundation for detailed analysis of misfolded αS fibres. Once the structure of these fibres is better understood, scientists will be able to investigate which versions are disease-causing and which are not. From here, they will be able to test drugs against pathogenic forms.This will constitute a major step forward in finding a cure for Parkinson's and other neurological conditions."