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PARK gene family

Reviewed May 2012

What are the PARK genes?

Genes in this family are associated with Parkinson disease, a disorder of the nervous system that causes progressive problems with movement and coordination. Most cases of Parkinson disease result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, many of which are unknown. However, more than a dozen genes have been identified that, when altered, either cause or influence the risk of developing the disease.

Genes in the Parkinson disease gene family have a variety of functions in the brain, and some are also active in other organs and tissues. Mutations in these genes affect the function and survival of particular nerve cells (neurons) in parts of the brain critical for normal movement, balance, and coordination. Normally, these neurons produce a chemical messenger called dopamine, which transmits signals within the brain to produce smooth physical movements. When dopamine-producing neurons become damaged and die, the brain becomes unable to control muscle movement. The progressive loss of these neurons underlies the movement abnormalities associated with Parkinson disease.

Some of the genes in the Parkinson disease family are also associated with other neurological conditions. For example, mutations in the PLA2G6 gene can cause infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, and SNCA gene mutations can cause multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Which genes are included in the PARK gene family?

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) provides an index of gene familiesThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. and their member genes.

Genetics Home Reference summarizes the normal function and health implications of these members of the PARK gene family: LRRK2, PARK2, PARK7, PINK1, PLA2G6, SNCA, and UCHL1.

What conditions are related to genes in the PARK gene family?

Genetics Home Reference includes these conditions related to genes in the PARK gene family:

Where can I find additional information about the PARK gene family?

Where can I find general information about genes and gene families?

The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.

What glossary definitions help with understanding the PARK gene family?

atrophy ; dementia ; dopamine ; gene ; hydrolase ; kinase ; leucine ; Lewy bodies ; ligase ; nervous system ; neurological ; protein ; ubiquitin

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (5 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: May 2012
Published: February 1, 2016