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Science. 2002 Feb 1;295(5556):865-8. Epub 2001 Dec 20.

Chaperone suppression of alpha-synuclein toxicity in a Drosophila model for Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder characterized by degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Dopaminergic neuronal loss also occurs in Drosophila melanogaster upon directed expression of alpha-synuclein, a protein implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and a major component of proteinaceous Lewy bodies. We report that directed expression of the molecular chaperone Hsp70 prevented dopaminergic neuronal loss associated with alpha-synuclein in Drosophila and that interference with endogenous chaperone activity accelerated alpha-synuclein toxicity. Furthermore, Lewy bodies in human postmortem tissue immunostained for molecular chaperones, also suggesting that chaperones may play a role in Parkinson's disease progression.

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