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Parkinson's disease (PD)

Myocyte enhanced factor 2C (MEF2C)

In vitro studies suggest increasing MEF2C expression could help treat PD. In dopaminergic neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells expressing a-synuclein (SNCA) A53T, compared with cells expressing wild-type SNCA, mitochondrial-damaging pesticides linked to PD caused S-nitrosylation of MEF2C and decreased its expression. In dopaminergic neurons expressing mutant SNCA, pretreatment with an inhibitor of S-nitrosylation or isoxazole protected cells from toxin-induced apoptosis. Both compounds were identified in a screen for activators of neuronal MEF2 (D-MEF2) transcription. Next steps include testing whether the effects of pesticides are associated with other PD mutations.

SciBX 7(2); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.63
Published online Jan. 16, 2014

Patents issued covering MEF2C and relevant neuroprotective agents; available for licensing

Ryan, S.D. et al. Cell; published online Nov. 27, 2013;
Contact: Stuart A. Lipton, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif.

Contact: Rajesh Ambasudhan, same affiliation as above

Contact: Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass.