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Korean finds mechanism Parkinson's disease

Korean scientist finds enzymatic mechanism for cure of Parkinson's disease

A research team led by a Korean scientist in the U.S. has found enzymatic activities that cause neuropsychosis, opening the way for treatment of diseases such as depression and Parkinson's.

Lee Min-gyu, researcher of Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, said on Monday (Sept. 19) that his team discovered that an enzyme called “BHC110” combines with certain protein complexes and represses the expression of genes related to nerves.

It has been known that various mental diseases and illness related to the cerebral nerves occur when BHC110 represses gene expression too much or too little.

Lee's research, which disclosed BHC110's detailed mechanism, is expected to help control the enzyme with medicine and prevent mental diseases related to nerves.

BHC110 represses the expression of nerve-related genes through demethylation, an activity removing methyl from histone, a basic protein that combines with DNA.

But BHC110's demethylation mechanism in human cells has not been found.

Lee's team discovered through cell experiments that BHC110 conducts demethylation activities by being combined with a protein complex called “BHC” in the human body, and that a protein called “CoREST” in the BHC complex plays a key role in detonating demethylation.

“We found a concrete principle of BHC110's activities in human cells. In the future, we will be able to fundamentally treat incurable diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, by developing drugs that activate or deactivate the enzyme,” Lee said.

Lee said, however, that it is not clear yet how the genes repressed by BHC110 are related to the attack of various neuropsychosis.

“Finding out exact correlation between the genes and diseases is one of the major questions to be solved for development of medicinal cures,” he added.

The results were released last month on the Web site of Nature, a world-renowned science journal, and was published in the journal last Thursday.

Lee, who majored agricultural chemistry at Seoul National University, obtained a doctorate in biological chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. He has been working at the Wistar Institute as a post-doctoral student for gene expression and regulation program since last year.

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