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.