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DJ-1 Function in Dopaminergic Neuronal Function and Survival

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting the elderly. The movement disorder is caused by progressive loss of dopamine producing neurons. Loss of function mutations in the DJ-1 gene have been linked to early-onset familial parkinsonism, which clinically resembles Parkinson's disease. We propose that DJ-1 is required for the normal function and survival of dopamine producing neurons. Here we employ a mouse genetic approach to investigate how loss of DJ-1 function causes death of dopamine producing neurons through the generation and analysis of mutant mice lacking DJ-1. We will determine whether loss of DJ-1 function results in progressive loss of dopamine producing neurons and whether DJ-1 mutant mice exhibit motor deficits. We will also study whether DJ-1 plays important roles in dopamine neurons and the mitochondria. These studies will provide insights into disease causing mechanisms associated with DJ-1 mutations, and may help to design novel therapeutic strategies to combat this debilitating disease.


  • Julie Shen, PhD

    Boston, MA United States

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