Decode molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease

Poor handling and elimination of misfolded proteins has been identified as central in the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. A special class of proteins within the cell called “chaperones” is responsible for refolding misfolded or damaged proteins. If the chaperone system cannot adequately deal with these misfolded proteins, they are targeted to specialized disposal systems in the cell including the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the autophagy-lysosomal system. Together these pathways are critical to maintain protein quality control within a cell. If they are dysfunctional or overwhelmed, then neurodegeneration ensues. Our current work is aimed at dissecting these protein quality control mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease.