Promising Outcomes of Original Grant:
Although the role of alpha-synuclein, the sticky protein that clumps in the cells of people with Parkinson's disease (PD), is not entirely clear, it is believed to control the release of dopamine at synapses, the points of contact between the neural cells. This requires the assistance of another protein, synapsin III (Syn III). We have previously shown that the presence of Syn III is necessary for alpha-synuclein clumping and the associated death of brain cells. These findings prove that Syn III may hold great promise as a novel therapeutic target in Parkinson's disease.
Objectives for Supplemental Investigation:
Researchers currently believe that alpha-synuclein clumps damage and ultimately kill dopamine-producing brain cells, prompting motor symptoms of PD. We aim to evaluate whether reducing the amount of Syn III in the brain can revert alpha-synuclein clumping and halt or delay cell damage and motor symptoms.
Importance of this Research for the Development of a New PD Therapy:
Although alpha-synuclein plays a crucial role in PD, little is known about the factors controlling its clumping. For this reason, effective therapeutic strategies targeting alpha-synuclein clumping are missing. This study will reveal whether Syn III, with its ability to promote alpha-synuclein clumping, represents a novel therapeutic target in Parkinson's disease.