Farnesol: The farnesylator of PARIS

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A build up of “PARkin Interacting Substrate” (or PARIS) protein has been proposed as one potential mediator of the pathology observed in some cases of Parkinson’s. The accumulation of this protein leads to the inhibition of a key protein called PGC-1α, which is a neuroprotective protein that helps to keep cells alive.

For sometime, researchers have been searching for molecules that can act as inhibitors of PARIS, in the hope that blocking PARIS would allow PGC-1α to act freely. Such an agent could have potential as novel treatment for Parkinson’s.

This week a research report was published that describes one possible PARIS inhibitor. It is called farnesol.

In today’s post, we will look at the biology behind PARIS, review the new report, and discuss what exactly is known about farnesol.

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Pont Royal et Musée d’Orsay. Source: Wikipedia

Paris has a special place in my heart for several reasons.

The main one: I proposed to my wife there on the Pont Royal.

We had planned a day out in London, but once we got down to Waterloo “for lunch at a special restaurant“, I surprised her with two Euro Star tickets and we were off on the train for Paris – just like that (I might look the hardened tough guy on the outside, but deep down I am really just a tragic romantic).

And that night, after “dinner at a special restaurant” shortly before 10pm as we were crossing the middle of the Pont Royal, and a small miracle occurred: the traffic lights stopped traffic in both directions.

Source: Pixels

Seizing our chance moment alone, I dropped to one knee and asked (read: begged).

Now, if she had said ‘no thanks‘, I had a back up plan: Jump over the side of the bridge, float down the Seine some ways, climb out and then join the Foreign Legions the next day as a mute (je suis muet”).

But she didn’t say no (let’s call that the second small miracle) and thankfully for my fragile ego’s sake there wasn’t a lengthy deliberation.

When the traffic lights changed and traffic started to flow again, we received some enthusiastic honks of the klaxons (horns) as I got up and we headed off to alert our parents. It was a really nice moment.

I was recalling this moment, this week when a different type of Paris was being discussed in the news.

What do you mean “a different type of Paris”?

Continue reading “Farnesol: The farnesylator of PARIS”

Problems with PARKIN in PARIS

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PARKIN is a protein that is associated with a young-onset form of Parkinson’s. Individuals carrying tiny genetic variants in the region of DNA producing this protein have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s before the age of 40 than non-carriers.

The PARKIN protein is believed to play an important role in the disposal of old/damaged mitochondria (the power stations of cells). But recent research points towards another protein – that interacts with PARKIN – which may also be implicated in the health and well being of mitochondria.

That other protein is called PARIS.

In today’s post, we will discuss what PARKIN does, explore how PARIS could be involved, and reflect on what this could mean for future therapies targeting PARKIN-associated Parkinson’s.

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paris

No label required. A magnificent city. Source: HathawaysofHaworth

Paris is not my favourite city (Hanoi takes that spot), but it is probably in the top 10.

Like London and New York, La Ville Lumière is an incredible place to be fortunate enough to visit.

If you ever find yourself in Paris, bored of all the art, culture, food, etc, and you feel like something more scientific, make your way up the Seine river to the 5th arrondissement, and try to find the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. Once you get there, ask for the “Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée” (Paleontology and comparative Anatomy Gallery):

This is the realm of Georges Cuvier – the French paleontologist who researched fossils and in 1796 laid out the first ideas for extinction theory. It is a hall of scientific wonder.

As I say, it is worth a visit if ever you are bored in Paris. But be warned that parking is an issue at the Jardin des plantes where the gallery is located.

In fact, parking is an issue everywhere in Paris.

It seems like Parking and Paris do not mix.

I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with Parkinson’s?

Continue reading “Problems with PARKIN in PARIS”