JOSÉ M. FUENTES
Our group (called Park Group) is interested in the study of environmental and genetic factors involved in the molecular etiology of Parkinson’s disease. In this sense, we study the role of derived proteins from the called PARK genes in deregulation of autophagy related to this disease.
Although the ethiology of Parkinson’s disease remains to be clarified, it is clear that environmental and genetic factors are involved. Our group has been studying both factors for over fifteen years and their relationship with autophagy. In this sense, we have characterized the autophagic response after exposure to some of the most neurotoxic compounds related to this disease such as MPP + or paraquat. Besides, we have characterized the role of the proteins produced from the called PARK genes such as DJ-1, PINK1, and especially LRRK2, in the regulation of autophagy . The study of the deregulation of the autophagic process by pathogenic mutations of this protein (e.g. G2019S or R1441G) has focused our work in the last years.
For this purpose, we use different approaches, mice models and fibroblasts obtained from patients with Parkinson’s disease with and without the above-mentioned mutations. In addition, we are trying to modulate the process of autophagy in these models looking for cytoprotection and neuroprotection.
We are integrated in the Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), the only research center in Spain which is member of the International Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN)