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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2014 Jan;20 Suppl 1:S154-7. doi: 10.1016/S1353-8020(13)70037-3.

Genetic causes of Parkinson's disease and their links to autophagy regulation.

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  • 1Weill Cornell Medical College, Biochemistry Department, 1300 York Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Genetic studies over the past 15 years have revolutionized our understanding towards the etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). These studies have discovered many disease-linked genetic loci (PARK 1 to 18), which are now being interrogated for cellular pathways contributing to PD. Various pathogenic pathways were proposed but validation of each pathway awaits rigorous experimental testing. Here we review recent progress in understanding the influence of disease risk genes on cellular functions, specifically, autophagy pathways. Autophagy is a cell self-eating, lysosomal degradation system that plays an important role in cell homeostasis and survival. Neurons are post-mitotic cells and particularly vulnerable to the impairment of autophagic degradation due to their inability to redistribute damaged proteins and organelles to daughter cells. Emerging evidence has implicated dysfunctional autophagy in a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases including PD. We will also discuss the prospect of intervening autophagy pathways as a potential strategy to treat PD.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


ATG13A2; Autophagy; CMA; GBA; LRRK2; Macroautophagy; PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson's disease; VPS35; α-synuclein

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