Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory was started in 1994 based on an interest in the processes that cause brain proteins to aggregate and thus partake in the development of late onset neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Since 1996 the focus has been on the processes related to the degeneration associated to aggregation of a-synuclein, a key player in Parkinson’s disease and common forms of dementia.
Our group is studying how alpha-synuclein contributes to the neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia and multiple systems atrophy, which are hallmarked by the development of intracellular aggregates of alpha-synuclein. This is investigated in vitro, in cell models, transgenic animals and human tissue and involves development of new aggregate selective tools.
The aim is to decipher how cells regulate their pools of alpha-synuclein species and how they respond to misfolded alpha-synuclein with respect to cytotoxic and protective mechanisms that can be targeted by therapy. This involves proteostatic mechanisms like autophagy, unconventional secretion, prion-like intercellular propagation and homeostatic cellular mechanisms being offset by alpha-synuclein aggregates.
Currently specific projects focuses on alpha-synucleins role in calcium regulation, kinase pathways regulating alpha-synuclein turn-over and toxicity, relation to the innate immune system, development of novel transgenic mouse lines and implementation of a mouse model for prion-like spreading of alpha-synuclein brain pathology.
For further information, please visit the NDL's website.