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Brain Health

Housekeeping Protein Can Protect Against Neurodegeneration

Posted on 2 February 2016

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Credit: Enzymlogic

Credit: Enzymlogic

A vital, housekeeping protein that keeps waste removal genes active could guard against neurodegeneration

One of the processes that regulate your genes is methylation, in which a small chemical methyl group is attached to particular base in your genetic code to alter expression of a gene. This process is extremely dynamic, with constant attachment and removal. One protein Tet3FL plays a key role in removing these epigenetic marks, and new research is suggesting failures involving this protein may lead to accumulating damage.

Tet3FL has a number of specific targets, and seems to play a central role in maintaining healthy recycling and waste disposal functions. Without sufficient levels of these processes, damaged and faulty proteins can begin to cause serious problems. 

“When we looked at the data, Tet3FL was surprisingly specific–we found a relatively small number of genes associated with it, the majority of which are part of the lysosomal and autophagic pathways. These pathways are responsible for clearing out old and damaged proteins and other cellular components, and have been previously linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, mutations in one of these genes, GBA, are recognized as the strongest genetic risk factors for developing Parkinson’s. Knowing how these genes are regulated, especially genes like GBA, could help us develop novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases”

A guardian

Because most brain cells don’t divide, epigenetic regulation is crucial for maintaining health and survival. If these disposal systems begin to fail, they’re going to have a long term effect. Tet3FL is essential for de-methylation of important housekeeping genes, and finding ways to maintain correct activity may guard against dysfunction. 

Read more at NeuroscienceNews

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