A study in cultured cells by scientists in Japan and the United States provides new information on interactions between 2 genes known to be involved in the development of familial forms of Parkinson disease (Matsuda N et al. J Cell Biol. 2010;189:211-221).
One gene encodes parkin, which adds ubiquitin molecules to other proteins to trigger their degradation; the second gene, PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1), is involved with mitochondrial maintenance. Problems with ubiquitination and mitochondrial integrity are key factors in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease.
Hampton T. Parkinson Disease Insights. JAMA. 2010;303(21):2129. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.685