A process called m6A mRNA methylation is involved in the correct production of proteins in cells. Recently, new research has shown that this process is reduced in the brains of people with Parkinson’s and research is underway to develop drugs that can improve this key protein production process.

Proteins are involved in a complex series of biological processes continually happening inside cells including the manufacture of other important proteins, upkeeping the health of cells and waste clearance; proteins also receive signals from outside the cell to activate processes inside.

Disruption of these processes is associated with many health problems and recently researchers have reported that one particular process involved in protein production – m6A mRNA methylation – is reduced in the brains of people with Parkinson’s. Curiously, the m6A mRNA methylation process is increased in individuals affected by Dementia with Lewy bodies. Researchers are proposing that if protein production is disrupted in the Parkinson’s brain, this finding may help provide the mechanism by which the formation of Lewy bodies is occurring.

Lewy bodies are dense circular clusters of proteins that are a hallmark of Parkinson’s in the brain; they occur when proteins mis-fold and clump together to form toxic masses.

This research is very interesting for Cure Parkinson’s as we are currently funding a study that is focused on developing drugs to increase the m6A mRNA methylation process; this new research provides a stronger case for supporting our research in this area.

The project is being conducted by Professors Mart Saarma and Mati Karelson in Finland and Estonia and they hope that their investigations will result in a new class of treatments that improve protein production and slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

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