Parkin and Its Substrates

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Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 224-225
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063286

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What causes the selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients? As Haass and Kahle explain in their Perspective, a clue comes from new work showing that two proteins implicated in PD (parkin and a-synuclein) normally interact in healthy neurons ( Shimura et al.). The Perspective authors speculate that defective targeting of a-synuclein for degradation by parkin results in accumulation of toxic a-synuclein aggregates that selectively kill dopaminergic neurons.