This proposal seeks to discover a new gene(s) within a candidate region on chromosome 1p that modifies PD susceptibility and/or age at onset. The characterization of such a gene, and the pathways in which it participates, will further our understanding of the molecular events that lead to selective neurodegeneration in PD. This knowledge might serve to identify novel therapeutic targets which could be used to prevent and better treat the disease.
Parkinson's disease (PD) affects 1-2% of the population over 60 years of age and thus constitutes a major problem in public health. Current treatment strategies are only palliative and a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying PD is necessary in order to develop more definitive neuroprotective therapies. Human genetic studies are a valuable tool in this endeavor. A new candidate region for PD was recently identified on chromosome 1p in two independent linkage studies. However, the identity of the disease gene(s) within this region has not yet been determined. In this application, we propose to fine-map the candidate interval using 7,600 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 300 multiplex PD families recruited from across the United States. FBAT- based methods will be utilized to identify SNPs which modify PD risk or age at onset. Exploratory analyses will be undertaken to test for gene x environment interactions. We will then validate markers which meet a pre-defined significance threshold in an independent case control sample of 2,000 subjects. Finally, an extensive bioinformatics analysis will be performed to assemble a list of putative functional risk variants which will subsequently be tested for effects on gene expression and/or protein function via in vitro assays. This work has the potential to discover a new disease gene(s) which could provide important insights into the pathogenesis of PD that ultimately translate into improved strategies for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
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