Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the death of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Our understanding of PD biology has been enriched by the identification of genes involved in its rare, inheritable forms, termed PARK genes. These genes encode proteins including α-syn, LRRK2, VPS35, parkin, PINK1, and DJ1, which can cause monogenetic PD when mutated. Investigating the cellular functions of these proteins has been instrumental in identifying signaling pathways that mediate pathology in PD and neuroprotective mechanisms active during homeostatic and pathological conditions. It is now evident that many PD-associated proteins perform multiple functions in PD-associated signaling pathways in neurons. Furthermore, several PARK proteins contribute to non-cell-autonomous mechanisms of neuron death, such as neuroinflammation. A comprehensive understanding of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous pathways involved in PD is essential for developing therapeutics that may slow or halt its progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology