09 October 2013
Vol 5, Issue 206

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Perking Up Neurons. A cluster of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and prion disease have as their root cause the accumulation of mutant misfolded proteins that aggregate into clumps, resulting in loss of synapses and ultimately neuronal death. Working in a mouse model of prion disease Moreno et al. reasoned that blocking the activity of PERK kinase, a key player in the unfolded protein response (a cellular pathway that is activated when proteins misfold in the endoplasmic reticulum) might be neuroprotective. They show that blocking PERK kinase activity with a small molecule prevented neurodegeneration and the emergence of clinical disease in the prion-infected mice. A related Focus by Scheper and Hoozemans discusses the translational implications of these findings. [CREDIT: VALERIE ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE]