The finding was published online by Neuron at noon ET on October 22, 2004. The collaborative work was spearheaded by Andrew Singleton, Ph.D., at the NIA, Jordi Perez-Tur of the Institut de Biomedicina de Valencia in Spain, and Nick W. Wood of the Institute of Neurology in London. The NIA is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Parkinson's disease has a devastating impact upon individuals," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the NIH. "This finding provides scientists with important new information about genetic mutations that underlie this disease, giving us new understanding about molecular mechanisms. Ultimately, this research will help in the development of targeted interventions that could actually alter the course of this disabling disease."
The gene, PARK8, encodes a protein named dardarin by the researchers, from the Basque word dardara, which means tremor, a major symptom of Parkinson's disease. It was isolated on chromosome 12 by investigators who studied five families with a history of Parkinson's disease who lived in the Basque region of Spain and in England. First, the group identified a small region of the chromosome 12 shared by all of the Basque families and then systematically assessed each gene in this region for mutations that might cause disease. The investigators identified two mutations in the same gene, one associated with Parkinson's disease in
Contact: Doug Dollemore
NIH/National Institute on Aging