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Jensen Group

Neurodegenerative Diseases Laboratory


Our group want to understand how neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and multiple systems atrophy develop, progress, and elicit their many symptoms.

We centre our studies on how the protein alpha-synuclein contributes to these processes because the spread of alpha-synuclein aggregate-pathology in the tissue plays a central role for these diseases. This is investigated in studies of alpha-synuclein aggregates in vitro, in cell models, cultures brain slices, live animals and human tissue and involves development of new tools and models.

Research focus

Our aims are: 1) Decipher how cells regulate their pools of alpha-synuclein species because elevated levels represents a risk factor for disease with projects both at the regulation of alpha-synuclein transcription and the catabolic pathways for normal and abnormal alpha-synuclein species. 2) Understand how different folding strains of alpha-synuclein aggregates develop and cells respond to such aggregated alpha-synuclein species with respect to cytotoxic and protective mechanisms that can be targeted by therapy. 3) Understand how cells suffering from development of intracellular alpha-synuclein aggregates affects their surrounding tissue and connected neurons contributing to spreading of pathology and development of neurological/psychiatric symptoms.

Currently specific projects focuses on i) alpha-synucleins role in calcium regulation with a focus on calcium pumps in the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane, ii) signalling pathways regulating transcription of alpha-synuclein and degradation of its native and aggregated species, iii) characterization of oligomeric and fibrillar alpha-synuclein aggregates, iv) development and application of proximity ligation assays to uncover novel alpha-synuclein pathology in human brain tissue, v) in vivo mouse studies focussing on modelling and mechanisms involved in disease progression and how they can be inhibited pharmacologically.

Available projects

The Jensen group currently has projects available for Master and PhD students. Please contact Group Leader Poul Henning Jensen directly, if interested.



Previous news from the research group


2015.02.18 | Research news

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's - Phosphorylated a-synuclein in Parkinson's disease: correlation depends on disease severity

Phosphorylation of a-synuclein on serine 129 is closely linked to Parkinson’s disease. This clinical study critically studies the relation of phosphorylated a-synuclein to parkinson’s disease progression and symptomatology using more defined patient cohorts. The study was lead by our collaborator prof. Jing Zhang, University of Washington.

2015.02.09 | Research news

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group - Identification of Synaptosomal Proteins Binding to Monomeric and Oligomeric alpha-Synuclein

In this proteomic study we have identified those proteins in nerveterminals (synaptosomes) that preferentially bind to alpha-synuclein in its normal monomeric and its pathological oligomeric states. The study was conducted in collaboration with prof. Jing Zhang, University of Washington.

2014.06.27 | Research news

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group - DJ-1 interactions with alpha-synuclein attenuate aggregation and cellular toxicity in models of Parkinson's disease

Alpha-synuclein and DJ-1 are key players in Parkinson disease possessing opposing effects with alpha-synuclein harming and DJ-1 protecting cells. We found that DJ-1 directly interact with alpha-synuclein thereby attenuating its toxic effect. The study is in collaboration with University Medical Center Göttingen and University of Leicester.

2014.06.06 | Research news

New publication - How epigallocatechin gallate can inhibit alpha-synuclein oligomer toxicity in vitro

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group in collaboration with prof. Daniel Otzen's group at iNANO published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. This study investigated how the flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate protects against alpha-synuclein oligomer cytotoxicity that forms in Parkinson's disease.

2014.03.24 | Research news

New publication - Accumulation of oligomer-prone alpha-synuclein exacerbates synaptic and neuronal degeneration in vivo

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group published in Brain, a Journal of Neurology. Results from this study support the hypothesis that accumulating oligomeric alpha-synuclein may mediate early synaptic pathology in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies by disrupting synaptic vesicles. This oligomer-prone model might be useful…

2013.12.17 | Research news

New publication - Prodegenerative IkBalpha expression in oligodendroglial alpha-synuclein models of multiple system atrophy

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group published in Journal of Neurobiology of Disease. Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by parkinsonism, ataxia, autonomic dysfunction, and accumulation of alpha-synuclein in oligodendrocytes. Favoring oligodendroglial NF-kB activation may represent a…

2013.12.11 | Research news

New publication - Characterizing the dynamics of alpha-synuclein oligomers using hydrogen/deuterium exchange monitored by mass spectrometry

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group published in Journal of Biochemistry. Soluble oligomers formed by alpha-synuclein (alphaSN) are suspected to play a central role in neuronal cell death during Parkinson's disease. In this study, the structural dynamics of soluble alphaSN oligomers was analyzed using hydrogen/deuterium exchange…

2013.10.10 | Research news

New publication from Poul Henning Jensen's group - Structural and functional characterization of two alpha-synuclein strains

New results published in Nature Communications on the structure and function of two polymorphs of alpha-synuclein, a protein implicated in a number of neurological diseases such as for example Parkinson and dementia.

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