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Logo of jbcThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
 
J Biol Chem. 2013 January 11; 288(2): 927.
PMCID: PMC3543041

The Role of Parkin, a Gene Implicated in Parkinson Disease, in the Heart♦

Parkin Protein Deficiency Exacerbates Cardiac Injury and Reduces Survival following Myocardial Infarction

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2013, 288, 915–926

Loss-of-function mutations in the Parkin gene are known to lead to Parkinson disease. In neurons, Parkin is critical for removing dysfunctional mitochondria via autophagy. The protein is also expressed in the heart, but its role there is largely unknown. In this Paper of the Week, a team led by Åsa B. Gustafsson at the University of California, San Diego, used genetically engineered mice missing the Parkin gene. By comparing these mice with wild-type mice, they found that the absence of Parkin did not affect mitochondrial turnover under normal conditions. However, during stress conditions, such as a myocardial infarction that simulates a heart attack, the protein was necessary for the heart muscle, or myocardium, to adapt to the stress by helping to remove damaged mitochondria by autophagy. The data suggest that Parkin plays a critical role in repairing damage in cells after a heart attack.

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Representative hearts of wild-type and Parkin-deficient mice 7 days after a myocardial infarction.


Articles from The Journal of Biological Chemistry are provided here courtesy of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology