An Enzyme May be the Key to Stopping Parkinson’s

Parkinson's disease. 3D illustration showing neurons containing Lewy bodies small red spheres which are deposits of proteins accumulated in brain cells that cause their progressive degeneration

Scientists from the University of Dundee and the University of Stanford have made an important discovery in Parkinson’s. These researchers discovered an enzyme that acts as the “brakes” to the formation of Parkinson. An enzyme known as Protein Phosphatase Methyltransferase -1 (PPM1) was found to inhibit Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRKK2) gene and its expression. An important finding when you look at the mechanisms that lead to the formation of Parkinson’s.

An important discovery when you look at how many people are affected by this disorder. Parkinson, a neurodegenerative disease, is said to affect more than 10 million people around the world, with the number growing each day as more patients get diagnosed. If you look at the disease, you’ll understand that the condition can change the lives of those suffering from PD profoundly. Imagine not being able to get up from your bed or trying to open a door? These patients often suffer from tremors, bradykinesia, stiffness, and slow movements, which worsen with time.

In their research, they use siRNA screening to determine how PPM1 was able to reverse the biological effects of LRKK2 and its phosphorylation of Rab10. The disease is known to be caused by a mutation in the LRKK2 gene leading to the activation of a protein kinase. The activation of the protein kinase then phosphorylates a subset of GTPase and the Rab protein. This leads to the formation of cilia in cells, a morphology that leads to sticky proteins clumping with one another. By overexpressing PPM1, it can counteract the activation of LRKK2 and Rab10, preventing the formation of cilia and PD.

The idea of using PPM1 in targeting LRKK2 by dephosphorylating Rab protein can potentially be a therapy for patients suffering from this disorder. Who knows where this research will lead to, perhaps the drug development of activators in PPM1. This discovery has resulted in a new approach to tackling the disease.