Our lab got a short summary of our Journal of Neuroscience paper published in the journal of Finnish Medical Society, Duodecim. We felt that it is important to raise awareness of our novel pre-clinical findings also in Finnish medical field, and In Press-page of Duodecim was an excellent opportunity for this. The article can be found here but you need a subscription to access it.
We have two new PhD student in PREP lab now that Tommi Kilpeläinen and M.Sc. Patrycja Pabis started their thesis work at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. Tommi has been a M.Sc. student and lab technician in PREP lab already most of year 2016, and is now starting his PhD project in Academy of Finland spearhead project. Patrycja got her M.Sc. in pharmacy in Jaegellonian University, Krakow, Poland, at 2016. She also visited on 2015 in PREP lab as an Erasmus student, so she is kind of a returning back to her (scientific) home 🙂 Patrycja’s work is funded by a Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation grant.
Now the hard work pays off, and PREP lab got another major publication accepted to Molecular Neurobiology. In this manuscript, we showed that PREP regulates dopamine levels in nigrostriatal pathway by reducing the phosphorylation of dopamine transporter (DAT). Removal of PREP leads to impaired DAT function, and elevates extracellular dopamine in striatum. Great work by Ulrika et al.! You can read the abstract of the article here.
Our lab got a major publication accepted to Journal of Neuroscience! In the article entitled “Inhibition of Prolyl Oligopeptidase Restores Spontaneous Motor Behavior in the α-Synuclein Virus Vector–Based Parkinson’s Disease Mouse Model by Decreasing α-Synuclein Oligomeric Species in Mouse Brain” by Reinis Svarcbahs, Ulrika Julku and Timo Myöhänen we showed that PREP inhibitor treatment can restore behavioral deficit caused by alpha-synuclein overexpression in mice. Importantly, the treatment was started when the behavioral symptoms were already measurable and only in 2 weeks of treatment, the symptoms were reduced to control level. Analysis revealed that toxic alpha-synuclein oligomers were significantly decreased by PREP inhibitor treatment and mice dopaminergic system was also showing signs of recovery. The paper can be found in Journal of Neuroscience webpage (requires purchasing or institutional access).
Our publication was nicely noticed in Finnish media, and 24 different newspaper or news services picked it to their webpage. Public announcement can be found in University of Helsinki webpage.
The biggest annual neuroscience meeting, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2016, will be held in San Diego, CA, on November 12-17. SfN meeting gathers usually 30-35,000 neuroscientist, and is one of the best meetings to hear newest trends and to network with other researchers. Our lab will be presenting two posters, “Prolyl Oligopeptidase (PREP), a novel modulator of PI3K class III regulated autophagy pathway” by Reinis and “Prolyl oligopeptidase regulates dopamine transporters in the nigrostriatal tract in mice” by Ulrika.
PREP in neurodegeneration lab ended its rather long period with no publications (last publication was from 2015) and got a paper accepted to Neuroscience Letters. However, stay tuned since we have several really good papers to come.
In this paper, we showed that PREP inhibitor can overcome the toxic effects caused by lactacystin, a proteasomal inhibitor, on alpha-synuclein overexpressing cells. Our data shows that PREP inhibitor reduced the alpha-synuclein oligomerization in cells by inducing autophagy that becomes more important pathway for alpha-synuclein degradation when proteasomes are blocked. You can read the abstract and highlights of the paper here.
Academy of Finland has granted a Key Project funding for Dr. Timo Myöhänen’s project titled “Prolyl oligopeptidase ligands – a possibility for a common drug therapy for several neurodegenerative diseases?”. Key Funding is a novel type of grant from Academy of Finland, and it is aiming more to look for possibilities to commercialize the research. The grant period is 2 years, and the value 300,000 euros. View the decisions here.
The fall is here and it brings some changes in PREP in neurodegenerative disorders lab personnel. Our former PhD student and current post doc, Dr. Mari Savolainen, will go forward on her scientific career, and start as a post doctoral researcher in Prof. Jeffrey Kordower’s lab in Rush University, Chicago, USA. We hope all the best for Mari for her post doc period! However, our lab does not get smaller since our former M.Sc. student, Tommi Kilpeläinen, will start his PhD project at October-November. Welcome, Tommi!
PREP in neurodegeneration research group got a 2-year grant worth of 260,000 e from Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation! JAE Foundation has been one of the supporters from the beginning of the research, and the first grant from the foundation was granted on 2011. Thereafter, the foundation has now given continuation grant for two times, first at 2013 and now. Their support has been remarkable for our research.
The grant allows us to further expand our research and study the possibilities of PREP inhibitors on various neurodegenerative disease models. Stay tuned for the results!
PI Timo Myöhänen received a two-year and 80,000 euros research grant from Sigrid Juselius Foundation. This grant is important to secure the continue of current research lines until the end of Academy Research Fellow period. Several thanks for the Sigrid Juselius Foundation! More info and list of all grantees can be found here: http://www.sigridjuselius.fi/images/uploads/files/Unga_forskare_till_webben_9_mars_20163_1.pdf