Seminar: Curbing mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration: lessons from neurogenetics
Dr Derek Narendra, Lasker Clinical Research Scholar in the Neurogenetics Branch of the NINDS (NIH)
Monday, 24 April 2023, 3pm to 4pm
IMS-Tetsuya Nakamura Building Roosevelt Dr, Headington OX3 7TY
Hosted by Professor Jo Poulton and Associate Professor Carlo Rinaldi
MDUK OXFORD NEUROMUSCULAR CENTRE SEMINAR SERIES
This seminar is intended for the personnel and students at the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
Hybrid seminar at the IMS-Tetsuya Nakamura Building on Old Road Campus. For the online link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refreshments will follow the talk.
Among the causes of neurodegeneration are damaged mitochondria that accumulate with age, particularly in post-mitotic neurons and myocytes. Our group studies monogenic disorders to uncover mitochondrial stress responses that curb mitochondrial damage in neurodegeneration. Our focus includes PINK1 and Parkin, which form a stress-induced mitophagy pathway that targets damaged mitochondria for degradation. Mutations in these genes are the most common recessive forms of Parkinson’s disease, linking mitophagy to neurodegeneration. We are additionally focused on dominant mutations in the paralogs CHCHD2 and CHCHD10, which cause Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, and myopathy. In addition to enabling precision therapies for these neurogenetic disorders, our work is uncovering fundamental mitochondrial stress responses to mitochondrial damage.
Dr. Narendra received his B.A. from Columbia University in 2002, Ph.D. from University of Cambridge in 2012, and M.D. from the University of Michigan in 2012. During his graduate research with mentors Dr. Richard Youle and Professor Sir John Walker, he identified a novel mitophagy pathway involving the coordinated activities of Parkin and PINK1, mutations in which are the leading cause of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. He completed the Brigham and Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Neurology Residency Program in 2016 with additional fellowship training in movement disorders at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2017, Dr. Narendra received the McFarland Transition to Independence Award for Neurologist-Scientists and joined the NINDS as an Assistant Clinical Investigator within the Neurogenetics Branch (NINDS). His laboratory focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease.
Our group studies inherited movement disorders with a focus on the genetics and molecular pathogenesis of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease (EOPD) (onset at 50 years or before). Whereas idiopathic Parkinson's disease is typically sporadic, EOPD is frequently caused by mutation(s) in a single gene. Many of the genes responsible for EOPD have been identified. The relationship among these genes in the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, however, remains ill-defined. We recently discovered that two of these genes, Parkin and PINK1, function in a novel mitochondrial quality control pathway in which impaired mitochondria are targeted for lysosomal degradation by mitophagy (a selective form of macroautophagy). Interestingly, two other genes causing EOPD, DJ-1 and the recently identified CHCHD2, share with Parkin and PINK1 a role in mitochondrial biology, suggesting commonalities in pathogenesis. To characterize the molecular pathogenesis of EOPD, we use a combination of novel genetic tools, advanced imaging methods like super-resolution microscopy, quantitative proteomics, and biochemical studies in cellular and mouse models. Additionally, we are collecting DNA samples and fibroblasts from patients with EOPD to better assess the contribution of known genes to the risk of EOPD and to uncover new causes of EOPD, using exome sequencing. It is our hope that these studies will ultimately clarify the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and guide the development of disease-modifying therapy.