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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Zinc supplement greatly improves the condition of parkin mutant Drosophila

Nidhi Saini1 / Walter Schaffner1

1Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8051 Zürich, Switzerland

Corresponding author

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 391, Issue 5, Pages 513–518, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/bc.2010.052, March 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder in which oxidative stress is implicated as a major causative factor. Mutations in the gene encoding Parkin, a ubiquitin ligase, are responsible for a familial form of PD. In a Drosophila disease model lacking Parkin (park 25 null mutant), we tested the effect of zinc supplementation. Zinc is an essential trace metal and a component of many enzymes and transcriptional regulators. Unlike copper and iron, zinc is not redox-active and under most conditions serves as an antioxidant. We find that the condition of parkin mutants raised on zinc-supplemented food is greatly improved. At zinc concentrations where controls begin to show adverse effects as a result of the metal supplement, parkin mutants perform best, as manifested in a higher frequency of reaching adulthood, extended lifespan and improved motoric abilities.

Keywords: antioxidant; metal homeostasis; metallothioneins; MTF-1; Parkinson's disease; zinc transporters

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