A study in the July 2005 issue of Nature Genetics reports a new mechanism underlying motor neuron disease, which may be broadly relevant to several adult-onset neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease.
Mutations in the gene encoding dynein, a molecule involved in transporting cargo in neuronal cells, had previously been shown to cause motor neuron disease. David Rubinsztein and colleagues now show that reduced dynein function impairs the clearance of protein aggregates from affected neurons. These aggregates (also called inclusions) are a common feature of several neurodegenerative diseases, and are possibly toxic to the cells. The authors suggest that dynein may normally be responsible for transporting the aggregate-clearing protein complex to its proper location in the neuron.
David Rubinsztein (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, UK)
Also published online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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