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Universal protein may offer Parkinson’s cure

By Tim Sandle     Jul 5, 2013 in Science
Bethesda - A tiny protein found in most living things could hold the cure for a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.
The tiny protein is called ubiquitin. It is so named because it is found in almost all living things (hence the play of ‘ubiquitous’ and the protein was originally described as ‘ubiquitous immunopoietic polypeptide’). The protein was first identified in 1975, and hitherto it was thought to be of little significance.
Scientists are now of the opinion that ubiquitin takes many different forms and it is important in basic cellular processes, according to a research note. This includes controlling cells' circadian clocks to clearing away the harmful build-up of cells found in cancer and other diseases.
Considerable research is now being invested into understanding the structure and function of ubiquitin more fully by using scientists based at the University of Maryland. This being undertaken using x-ray crystallography to map the protein structures.
The findings so far have been collated and published in the biological journal Structure.
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