Mutations in DJ-1 (PARK7) are one cause of early-onset autosomal-recessive parkinsonism. We screened for DJ-1 mutations in 93 affected individuals from the 64 multiplex Parkinson disease (PD) families in our sample that had the highest family-specific multipoint LOD scores at the DJ-1 locus. In addition to sequencing all coding exons for alterations, we used multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) to examine the genomic copy number of DJ-1 exons. A known polymorphism (R98Q) was found in five PD subjects, once as a homozygote and in the other four cases as heterozygotes. No additional missense mutations and no exon deletions or duplications were detected. Our results, in combination with those of previous studies, suggest that alterations in DJ-1 are not a common cause of familial PD.
Parkinson disease; DJ-1; multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification; MLPA
Copy number variants (CNVs) are known to cause Mendelian forms of Parkinson disease (PD), most notably in SNCA and PARK2. PARK2 has a recessive mode of inheritance; however, recent evidence demonstrates that a single CNV in PARK2 (but not a single missense mutation) may increase risk for PD. We recently performed a genome-wide association study for PD that excluded individuals known to have either a LRRK2 mutation or two PARK2 mutations. Data from the Illumina370Duo arrays were re-clustered using only white individuals with high quality intensity data, and CNV calls were made using two algorithms, PennCNV and QuantiSNP. After quality assessment, the final sample included 816 cases and 856 controls. Results varied between the two CNV calling algorithms for many regions, including the PARK2 locus (genome-wide p = 0.04 for PennCNV and p = 0.13 for QuantiSNP). However, there was consistent evidence with both algorithms for two novel genes, USP32 and DOCK5 (empirical, genome-wide p-values<0.001). PARK2 CNVs tended to be larger, and all instances that were molecularly tested were validated. In contrast, the CNVs in both novel loci were smaller and failed to replicate using real-time PCR, MLPA, and gel electrophoresis. The DOCK5 variation is more akin to a VNTR than a typical CNV and the association is likely caused by artifact due to DNA source. DNA for all the cases was derived from whole blood, while the DNA for all controls was derived from lymphoblast cell lines. The USP32 locus contains many SNPs with low minor allele frequency leading to a loss of heterozygosity that may have been spuriously interpreted by the CNV calling algorithms as support for a deletion. Thus, only the CNVs within the PARK2 locus could be molecularly validated and associated with PD susceptibility.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, where most cases are sporadic with a late onset. In rare incidences familial forms of early-onset parkinsonism occur, and when recessively inherited, cases are often explained by mutations in either the parkin (PARK2) or PINK1 (PARK6) gene or on exceptional occasions the DJ-1 (PARK7) or ATP13A2 (PARK9) gene. Recessively inherited deletions/duplications and point mutations in the parkin gene are the most common cause of early-onset parkinsonism known so far, but in an increasing number of studies, genetic variations in the serine/threonine kinase domain of the PINK1 gene are found to explain early-onset parkinsonism.
In this study all families were from a population with a high incidence of consanguinity. We investigated 11 consanguineous families comprising 17 affected with recessively inherited young-onset parkinsonism for mutations both in the parkin and PINK1 gene. Exons and flanking regions were sequenced, and segregation patterns of genetic variation were assessed in members of the respective families. An exon dosage analysis was performed for all exons in both genes.
In the parkin gene, a three generation family was identified with an exon 4 deletion segregating with disease. Both affected were homozygous for the deletion that segregated on a haplotype that spanned the gene in a haplotype segregation analysis that was performed using additional markers. Exon dosage analysis confirmed the recessive pattern of inheritance with heterozygous deletions segregating in healthy family members. In the PINK1 gene we identified two novel putative pathogenic substitutions, P416R and S419P, located in a conserved motif of the serine/threonine kinase domain. Both substitutions segregated with disease in agreement with a recessive pattern of inheritance within respective families and both were present as homozygous in two affected each. We also discuss common polymorphisms in the two genes found to be co-segregating within families.
Our results further extend on the involvement of PINK1 mutations in recessive early-onset parkinsonism with clinical features similar to carriers of parkin mutations.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) in the Japanese population identified 2 new Parkinson disease (PD) susceptibility loci on 1q32 (PARK16) (OMIM 613164) and BST1. We analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) located at the GWAS-linked loci (PARK16, PARK8, PARK1, and BST1) in a Chinese population and also conducted a meta-analysis in Asians by pooling 2 independent replication studies from Japan.
We conducted an analysis of 13 SNPs associated with PD GWAS-linked loci in 2 case-control cohorts comprised of 1,349 ethnic Chinese subjects.
PARK16, PARK8, and PARK1 loci but not BST1 were found to be associated with PD. PARK16 SNPs were associated with a decreased risk while PARK1 and PARK8 SNPs were associated with an increased risk of PD. A pooled analysis of our Chinese cohorts and 2 Japanese replication cohorts involving 1,366 subjects with PD and 16,669 controls revealed robust association with these 3 loci and also BST1. There was a trend toward a stronger protective effect of SNPs at the PARK16 locus in sporadic PD compared to familial cases and in older compared to younger subjects.
Our study reaffirms the role of GWAS-linked loci in PD in Asian subjects and the strength of association is similar between Chinese and Japanese subjects. Efforts to elucidate the associated gene within PARK16 locus are warranted.
= genome-wide association study;
= Parkinson disease;
= single nucleotide polymorphism.
Over recent years small submicroscopic DNA copy-number variants (CNVs) have been highlighted as an important source of variation in the human genome, human phenotypic diversity and disease susceptibility. Consequently, there is a pressing need for the development of methods that allow the efficient, accurate and cheap measurement of genomic copy number polymorphisms in clinical cohorts. We have developed a simple competitive PCR based method to determine DNA copy number which uses the entire genome of a single chimpanzee as a competitor thus eliminating the requirement for competitive sequences to be synthesized for each assay. This results in the requirement for only a single reference sample for all assays and dramatically increases the potential for large numbers of loci to be analysed in multiplex. In this study we establish proof of concept by accurately detecting previously characterized mutations at the PARK2 locus and then demonstrating the potential of quantitative interspecies competitive PCR (qicPCR) to accurately genotype CNVs in association studies by analysing chromosome 22q11 deletions in a sample of previously characterized patients and normal controls.
One of the causes of Parkinson's disease is mutations in the PARK2 gene. Deletions and duplications of single exons or exon groups account for a large proportion of the gene mutations. Direct detection of these mutations can be used for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
To detect these mutations, we developed an effective technique based on the real-time TaqMan PCR system, which allows us to evaluate the copynumbers of the PARK2 gene exons by comparing the intensity of the amplification signals from some exon of this gene with that of the β-globin gene (the internal control).
We analyzed rearrangements in exons 1–12 of the PARK2 gene in 64 patients from Russia with early-onset Parkinson's disease. The frequency of these mutations in our patients was 14%.
We have developed a simple, accurate, and reproducible method applicable to the rapid detection of exon rearrangements in the PARK2 gene. It is suitable for the analysis of large patient groups, and it may become the basis for a diagnostic test.
Since the causative gene linked to PARK8 parkinsonism was identified as LRRK2, LRRK2 gene mutations have been found to occur in about 4% of patients with hereditary Parkinson disease (PD); this percentage is even higher in certain populations. Moreover, no clear clinical differences between PARK8-linked parkinsonism and sporadic PD have been identified. Neuropathologic findings have been diverse in PARK8 parkinsonism, but few of the clinicopathologic examinations have been performed in the same family tree. We aimed to describe PET and neuropathologic findings in members of the same family tree with PARK8 parkinsonism.
We conducted PET of 2 subjects and neuropathologically examined 8 subjects in the same family from the Sagamihara district, the original source of PARK8-linked parkinsonism (I2020T mutation).
The results of the PET scans were virtually identical to those seen in sporadic PD. The neuropathologic study results showed pure nigral degeneration with no Lewy bodies in 6 cases. One case, however, showed the presence of Lewy bodies and was similar neuropathologically to conventional PD with Lewy bodies. Another case had multiple system atrophy pathology.
Our study of PARK8-linked parkinsonism affecting several members of the same pedigree shows that the same gene mutation can induce diverse neuropathologies, even if the clinical picture and PET findings are virtually identical.
nigral degeneration; PARK8; PET
Early-onset Parkinson’s disease (EOPD) has been associated with recessive mutations in parkin (PARK2). About half of the mutations found in parkin are genomic rearrangements, i.e., large deletions or duplications. Although many different rearrangements have been found in parkin before, the exact breakpoints involving these rearrangements are rarely mapped. In the present study, the exact breakpoints of 13 different parkin deletions/duplications, detected in 13 patients out of a total screened sample of 116 EOPD patients using Multiple Ligation Probe Amplification (MLPA) analysis, were mapped using real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), long-range PCR and sequence analysis. Deletion/duplication-specific PCR tests were developed as a rapid and low cost tool to confirm MLPA results and to test family members or patients with similar parkin deletions/duplications. Besides several different deletions, an exon 3 deletion, an exon 4 deletion and an exon 7 duplication were found in multiple families. Haplotype analysis in four families showed that a common haplotype of 1.2 Mb could be distinguished for the exon 7 duplication and a common haplotype of 6.3 Mb for the deletion of exon 4. These findings suggest common founder effects for distinct large rearrangements in parkin.
Parkinson’s disease; parkin; Deletion; Duplication; Common founder; Breakpoint mapping
To date, molecular genetic analyses have identified over 500 distinct DNA variants in five disease genes associated with familial Parkinson disease; α-synuclein (SNCA), parkin (PARK2), PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), DJ-1 (PARK7), and Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2). These genetic variants include ∼82% simple mutations and ∼18% copy number variations. Some mutation subtypes are likely underestimated because only few studies reported extensive mutation analyses of all five genes, by both exonic sequencing and dosage analyses. Here we present an update of all mutations published to date in the literature, systematically organized in a novel mutation database (http://www.molgen.ua.ac.be/PDmutDB). In addition, we address the biological relevance of putative pathogenic mutations. This review emphasizes the need for comprehensive genetic screening of Parkinson patients followed by an insightful study of the functional relevance of observed genetic variants. Moreover, while capturing existing data from the literature it became apparent that several of the five Parkinson genes were also contributing to the genetic etiology of other Lewy Body Diseases and Parkinson-plus syndromes, indicating that mutation screening is recommendable in these patient groups. Hum Mutat 31:763–780, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Parkinson disease; genetic etiology; database; SNCA; PARK2; PINK1; PARK7; LRRK2
Background and Purpose
The LRRK2 (PARK8; OMIM607060) substitution was recently identified as a causative mutation for Parkinson's disease (PD). The pathologic heterogeneity of LRRK2-positive patients suggests that mutation of the LRRK2 gene is associated with the pathogenesis of PD and Parkinson-plus disorders, such as multiple system atrophy (MSA). We previously reported that the G2019S LRRK2 mutation-which is the most common LRRK2 mutation-was not found in a sample of 453 Korean PD patients. In the present study, we extended the screening for the G2019S mutation to a larger group of PD and MSA patients.
We performed a genetic analysis of the G2019S mutation in 877 patients with PD and 199 patients with MSA using a standard PCR and restriction digestion method.
None of the subjects carried the G2019S mutation.
The results of the present study support that the G2019S mutation is extremely rare in PD and is unlikely to be associated with MSA in the Korean population.
Parkinson's disease; multiple system atrophy; LRRK2; G2019S mutation
Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) enzyme is a rate limiting enzyme in dopamine biosynthesis. Missense mutation in both alleles of the TH gene is known to cause dopamine-related phenotypes, including dystonia and infantile Parkinsonism. However, it is not clear if single allele mutation in TH modifies the susceptibility to the adult form of Parkinson disease (PD). We reported a novel deletion of entire TH gene in an adult with PD. The deletion was first identified by copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a genome-wide association study using Illumina Infinium BeadChips. After screening 635 cases and 642 controls, the deletion was found in one PD case but not in any control. The deletion was confirmed by multiple quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays. There is no additional exonic single nucleotide variant in the one copy of TH gene of the patient. The patient has an age-at-onset of 54 years, no evidence for dystonia, and was responsive to L-DOPA. This case supports the importance of the TH gene in PD pathogenesis and raises more attention to rare variants in candidate genes being a risk factor for Parkinson disease. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Parkinson disease; TH; deletion; CNV; rare variants
To establish phenotype–genotype correlations in early-onset Parkinson disease (EOPD), we performed neurologic, neuropsychological, and psychiatric evaluations in a series of patients with and without parkin mutations.
Parkin (PARK2) gene mutations are the major cause of autosomal recessive parkinsonism. The usual clinical features are early-onset typical PD with a slow clinical course, an excellent response to low doses of levodopa, frequent treatment-induced dyskinesias, and the absence of dementia.
A total of 44 patients with EOPD (21 with and 23 without parkin mutations) and 9 unaffected single heterozygous carriers of parkin mutations underwent extensive clinical, neuropsychological, and psychiatric examinations.
The neurologic, neuropsychological, and psychiatric features were similar in all patients, except for significantly lower daily doses of dopaminergic treatment and greater delay in the development of levodopa-related fluctuations (p < 0.05) in parkin mutation carriers compared to noncarriers. There was no major difference between the two groups in terms of general cognitive efficiency. Psychiatric manifestations (depression) were more frequent in patients than in healthy single heterozygous parkin carriers but did not differ between the two groups of patients.
Carriers of parkin mutations are clinically indistinguishable from other patients with young-onset Parkinson disease (PD) on an individual basis. Severe generalized loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta in these patients is associated with an excellent response to low doses of dopa-equivalent and delayed fluctuations, but cognitive impairment and special behavioral or psychiatric symptoms were not more severe than in other patients with early-onset PD.
= Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale;
= early-onset Parkinson disease;
= Frontal Assessment Battery;
= Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale;
= Mattis Dementia Rating Scale;
= Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= Trail Making Test;
= Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale;
= Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.
Objective. To screen the susceptibility genes in Chinese pedigrees with early-onset familial Parkinson's disease (FPD). Methods. Fifty-one genomic DNA samples extracted from two Chinese pedigrees with FPD, the alpha-synuclein genes (SNCA), the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2(LRRK2), PINK1(PTEN-induced putative kinase 1), PARK7(Protein DJ1), PARK2(Parkinson juvenile disease protein 2), the glucocerebrosidase (GBA), and ATP(Ezrin-binding protein PACE-1), were sequenced by the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The gene dose of SNCA was checked. Results. There were only two missense mutations observed, respectively, at exon 5 of LRRK2 and exon 10 of PARK2, and both were enrolled in SNPs. Conclusion. No meaningful mutations could be detected, and other susceptibility genes should be detected in FDP patients in China.
Mutations in the ATP13A2 (PARK9) and FBXO7 (PARK15) genes are linked to different forms of autosomal recessive juvenile-onset neurodegenerative diseases with overlapping phenotypes, including levodopa-responsive parkinsonism, pyramidal disturbances, cognitive decline, and supranuclear gaze disturbance. However, the associated genotypes and phenotypes are poorly characterized due to the small number of patients described. Here, we report clinical, instrumental, and genetic findings in an Italian family with novel PARK9 and PARK15 mutations. The proband developed a severe progressive phenotype including juvenile-onset parkinsonism, pyramidal disturbances, cognitive decline, and oculomotor abnormalities. On the contrary, his brother only shows mild abnormalities (pyramidal, cognitive, and oculomotor) on the neurological examination at the age of 31 years. These two brothers both carry a novel homozygous PARK9 missense (p.G877R) and a novel heterozygous PARK15 mutation (p.R481C). The PARK9 mutation replaces a crucial residue for the ATPase activity, and is therefore most likely a loss-of-function mutation and disease-causing in homozygous state. The pathogenic significance of the PARK15 single heterozygous mutation remains unclear. In both sibs, DaTSCAN single photon emission computed tomography showed marked nigrostriatal dopaminergic defects, and transcranial magnetic stimulation detected prolonged central motor conduction time. MRI, including T2*-weighted imaging, detected no evidence of brain iron accumulation. This family, the third reported with homozygous PARK9 mutations and the first with mutations in two genes for atypical juvenile parkinsonism, illustrates that PARK9-linked disease might display wide intra-familial clinical variability and milder phenotypes, suggesting the existence of strong, still unknown, modifiers.
Parkinsonism; Movement disorders; PARK9; PARK15; ATP13A2; FBXO7
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). The familial form of PD, PARK2, is caused by mutations in the parkin gene. parkin-knockout mouse models show some abnormalities, but they do not fully recapitulate the pathophysiology of human PARK2.
Here, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two PARK2 patients. PARK2 iPSC-derived neurons showed increased oxidative stress and enhanced activity of the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway. iPSC-derived neurons, but not fibroblasts or iPSCs, exhibited abnormal mitochondrial morphology and impaired mitochondrial homeostasis. Although PARK2 patients rarely exhibit Lewy body (LB) formation with an accumulation of α-synuclein, α-synuclein accumulation was observed in the postmortem brain of one of the donor patients. This accumulation was also seen in the iPSC-derived neurons in the same patient.
Thus, pathogenic changes in the brain of a PARK2 patient were recapitulated using iPSC technology. These novel findings reveal mechanistic insights into the onset of PARK2 and identify novel targets for drug screening and potential modified therapies for PD.
Induced pluripotent stem cells; Parkinson’s disease; Parkin; Oxidative stress; Mitochondria; α-synuclein
Mutations in both alleles of parkin have been shown to result in Parkinson disease (PD). However, it is unclear whether haploinsufficiency (presence of a mutation in only 1 of the 2 parkin alleles) increases the risk for PD.
We performed comprehensive dosage and sequence analysis of all 12 exons of parkin in a sample of 520 independent patients with familial PD and 263 controls. We evaluated whether presence of a single parkin mutation, either a sequence (point mutation or small insertion/deletion) or dosage (whole exon deletion or duplication) mutation, was found at increased frequency in cases as compared with controls. We then compared the clinical characteristics of cases with 0, 1, or 2 parkin mutations.
We identified 55 independent patients with PD with at least 1 parkin mutation and 9 controls with a single sequence mutation. Cases and controls had a similar frequency of single sequence mutations (3.1% vs 3.4%, p = 0.83); however, the cases had a significantly higher rate of dosage mutations (2.6% vs 0%, p = 0.009). Cases with a single dosage mutation were more likely to have an earlier age at onset (50% with onset at ≤45 years) compared with those with no parkin mutations (10%, p = 0.00002); this was not true for cases with only a single sequence mutation (25% with onset at ≤45 years, p = 0.06).
Parkin haploinsufficiency, specifically for a dosage mutation rather than a point mutation or small insertion/deletion, is a risk factor for familial PD and may be associated with earlier age at onset.
= Activities of Daily Living;
= Geriatric Depression Scale;
= multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= Parkinson disease;
= Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.
DJ-1 is a novel oncogene and also causative gene for familial Parkinson’s disease park7. DJ-1 has multiple functions that include transcriptional regulation, anti-oxidative reaction and chaperone and mitochondrial regulation. For transcriptional regulation, DJ-1 acts as a coactivator that binds to various transcription factors, resulting in stimulation or repression of the expression of their target genes. In this study, we found the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene is a transcriptional target gene for DJ-1. Reduced expression of LDLR mRNA and protein was observed in DJ-1-knockdown cells and DJ-1-knockout mice and this occurred at the transcription level. Reporter gene assays using various deletion and point mutations of the LDLR promoter showed that DJ-1 stimulated promoter activity by binding to the sterol regulatory element (SRE) with sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) and that stimulating activity of DJ-1 toward LDLR promoter activity was enhanced by oxidation of DJ-1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, gel-mobility shift and co-immunoprecipitation assays showed that DJ-1 made a complex with SREBP on the SRE. Furthermore, it was found that serum LDL cholesterol level was increased in DJ-1-knockout male, but not female, mice and that the increased serum LDL cholesterol level in DJ-1-knockout male mice was cancelled by administration with estrogen, suggesting that estrogen compensates the increased level of serum LDL cholesterol in DJ-1-knockout female mice. This is the first report that DJ-1 participates in metabolism of fatty acid synthesis through transcriptional regulation of the LDLR gene.
Mutations or deletions in DJ-1/PARK7 gene are causative for recessive forms of early onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Wild-type DJ-1 has cytoprotective roles against cell death through multiple pathways. The most commonly studied mutant DJ-1(L166P) shifts its subcellular distribution to mitochondria and renders cells more susceptible to cell death under stress stimuli. We previously reported that wild-type DJ-1 binds to Bcl-XL and stabilizes it against ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation-induced rapid degradation. However, the mechanisms by which mitochondrial DJ-1(L166P) promotes cell death under death stimuli are largely unknown.
We show that DJ-1(L166P) is more prone to localize in mitochondria and it binds to Bcl-XL more strongly than wild-type DJ-1. In addition, UVB irradiation significantly promotes DJ-1(L166P) translocation to mitochondria and binding to Bcl-XL. DJ-1(L166P) but not wild-type DJ-1 dissociates Bax from Bcl-XL, thereby leading to Bax enrichment at outer mitochondrial membrane and promoting mitochondrial apoptosis pathway in response to UVB irradiation.
Our findings suggest that wild-type DJ-1 protects cells and DJ-1(L166P) impairs cells by differentially regulating mitochondrial Bax/Bcl-XL functions.
Parkinson’s disease; DJ-1; L166P; Mitochondria; Apoptosis; Bcl-XL; Bax; UVB
YPK9 (Yeast PARK9; also known as YOR291W) is a non-essential yeast gene predicted by sequence to encode a transmembrane P-type transport ATPase. However, its substrate specificity is unknown. Mutations in the human homolog of YPK9, ATP13A2/PARK9, have been linked to genetic forms of early onset parkinsonism. We previously described a strong genetic interaction between Ypk9 and another Parkinson's disease (PD) protein α-synuclein in multiple model systems, and a role for Ypk9 in manganese detoxification in yeast. In humans, environmental exposure to toxic levels of manganese causes a syndrome similar to PD and is thus an environmental risk factor for the disease. How manganese contributes to neurodegeneration is poorly understood. Here we describe multiple genome-wide screens in yeast aimed at defining the cellular function of Ypk9 and the mechanisms by which it protects cells from manganese toxicity. In physiological conditions, we found that Ypk9 genetically interacts with essential genes involved in cellular trafficking and the cell cycle. Deletion of Ypk9 sensitizes yeast cells to exposure to excess manganese. Using a library of non-essential gene deletions, we screened for additional genes involved in tolerance to excess manganese exposure, discovering several novel pathways involved in manganese homeostasis. We defined the dependence of the deletion strain phenotypes in the presence of manganese on Ypk9, and found that Ypk9 deletion modifies the manganese tolerance of only a subset of strains. These results confirm a role for Ypk9 in manganese homeostasis and illuminates cellular pathways and biological processes in which Ypk9 likely functions.
Parkinson disease (PD) is a common disorder that leads to motor and cognitive disability. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 2000 PD and 1986 control Caucasian subjects from NeuroGenetics Research Consortium.1–5 We confirmed SNCA2,6–8 and MAPT3,7–9; replicated GAK9 (PPankratz+NGRC=3.2×10−9); and detected a novel association with HLA (PNGRC=2.9×10−8) which replicated in two datasets (PMeta-analysis=1.9×10−10). We designate the new PD genes PARK17 (GAK) and PARK18 (HLA). PD-HLA association was uniform across genetic and environmental risk strata, and strong in sporadic (P=5.5×10−10) and late-onset (P=2.4×10−8) PD. The association peak was at rs3129882, a non-coding variant in HLA-DRA. Two studies suggested rs3129882 influences expression of HLA-DR and HLA-DQ.10,11 PD brains exhibit up-regulation of DR antigens and presence of DR-positive reactive microglia.12 Moreover, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) reduce PD risk.4,13 The genetic association with HLA coalesces the evidence for involvement of the immune system and offers new targets for drug development and pharmacogenetics.
Parkinson's disease has been linked to altered mitochondrial function. Mutations in parkin (park), the Drosophila ortholog of a human gene responsible for many familial cases of Parkinson's disease, shorten lifespan, abolish fertility, and disrupt mitochondrial structure. However, the role played by Park in mitochondrial function remains unclear. Here we describe a novel Drosophila gene, clueless (clu) that encodes a highly conserved tetratricopeptide repeat protein closely related to the CluA protein of Dictyostelium, Clu1 of Sacchromyces cerevisiae, and to similar proteins in diverse metazoan eukaryotes from Arabidopsis to humans. Like its orthologs, loss of Drosophila clu causes mitochondria to cluster within cells. We find that strong clu mutations resemble park mutations in their effects on mitochondrial function, and that the two genes interact genetically. Conversely, mitochondria in park homozygotes become highly clustered. We propose that Clu functions in a novel pathway that positions mitochondria within the cell based on their physiological state. Disruption of the Clu pathway may enhance oxidative damage, alter gene expression, cause mitochondria to cluster at microtubule plus ends, and lead eventually to mitochondrial failure.
Mutations in the F-box only protein 7 gene (FBXO7) cause PARK15, an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease presenting with severe levodopa-responsive parkinsonism and pyramidal disturbances. Understanding the PARK15 pathogenesis might thus provide clues on the mechanisms of maintenance of brain dopaminergic neurons, the same which are lost in Parkinson's disease. The protein(s) encoded by FBXO7 remain very poorly characterized. Here, we show that two protein isoforms are expressed from the FBXO7 gene in normal human cells. The isoform 1 is more abundant, particularly in primary skin fibroblasts. Both isoforms are undetectable in cell lines from the PARK15 patient of an Italian family; the isoform 1 is undetectable and the isoform 2 is severely decreased in the patients from a Dutch PARK15 family. In human cell lines and mouse primary neurons, the endogenous or over-expressed, wild type FBXO7 isoform 1 displays mostly a diffuse nuclear localization. An intact N-terminus is needed for the nuclear FBXO7 localization, as N-terminal modification by PARK15-linked missense mutation, or N-terminus tag leads to cytoplasmic mislocalization. Furthermore, the N-terminus of wild type FBXO7 (but not of mutant FBXO7) is able to confer nuclear localization to profilin (a cytoplasmic protein). Our data also suggest that overexpressed mutant FBXO7 proteins (T22M, R378G and R498X) have decreased stability compared to their wild type counterpart. In human brain, FBXO7 immunoreactivity was highest in the nuclei of neurons throughout the cerebral cortex, intermediate in the globus pallidum and the substantia nigra, and lowest in the hippocampus and cerebellum. In conclusion, the common cellular abnormality found in the PARK15 patients from the Dutch and Italian families is the depletion of the FBXO7 isoform 1, which normally localizes in the cell nucleus. The activity of FBXO7 in the nucleus appears therefore crucial for the maintenance of brain neurons and the pathogenesis of PARK15.
The presynaptic protein α-synuclein is involved in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD). In rare familial forms of PD, causal mutations (PARK1) as well as multiplications (PARK4) of the α-synuclein gene have been identified. In sporadic, idiopathic PD, abnormal accumulation and deposition of α-synuclein might also cause degeneration of dopaminergic midbrain neurons, the clinically most relevant neuronal population in PD. Thus, cell-specific quantification of α-synuclein expression-levels in dopaminergic neurons from idiopathic PD patients in comparison to controls would provide essential information about contributions of α-synuclein to the etiology of PD. However, a number of previous studies addressing this question at the tissue-level yielded varying results regarding α-synuclein expression. To increase specificity, we developed a cell-specific approach for mRNA quantification that also took into account the important issue of variable RNA integrities of the individual human postmortem brain samples. We demonstrate that PCR –amplicon size can confound quantitative gene-expression analysis, in particular of partly degraded RNA. By combining optimized UV-laser microdissection- and quantitative RT–PCR-techniques with suitable PCR assays, we detected significantly elevated α-synuclein mRNA levels in individual, surviving neuromelanin- and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons from idiopathic PD brains compared to controls. These results strengthen the pathophysiologic role of transcriptional dysregulation of the α-synuclein gene in sporadic PD.
The PARK7 gene encodes a protein, DJ-1, with several functions such as protection of cells from oxidative stress, sperm maturation and fertilization, and chaperone activity. Mutations in the PARK7 gene are associated with autosomal recessive early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has been reported to be expressed in multiple cells in the central nerve system. Here, by using both native and denatured Western blots, we examined levels of total DJ-1 and high molecular weight complexes of DJ-1 (HMW) in both the substantia nigra and cortex from rapidly autopsied 18 PD and 9 non-pathological control (NPC) brains. We have discovered that the level of total DJ-1 protein is significantly reduced in the substantia nigra in brains of sporadic PD patients. Moreover, in the PD cortex mitochondria fraction, the HMW DJ-1 complex is significantly lower than in the NPC. These results suggest abnormal DJ-1 expression levels and DJ-1 complex changes may contribute to PD pathogenesis.
The molecular mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease remain elusive. Deletion and mutations of DJ-1 (PARK7) have been reported to cause autosomal recessive familial Parkinson’s disease. Wildtype DJ-1 scavenges H2O2 by cysteine oxidation in response to oxidative stress, and thus confers neuroprotection. Activation of the transcription factor NF-E2 related factor-2 (Nrf2) has also been shown to be important for protection against oxidative stress in many models of neurodegenerative diseases. Previous data indicate that DJ-1 affects the transcriptional functions and stability of Nrf2. However, this observation has not been confirmed. In the current study, the role of DJ-1 in the regulation of Nrf2 is examined in primary cultured neurons, astrocytes and in vivo. The prototypical Nrf2 activator, tBHQ, protected primary cortical neurons derived from DJ-1 knockout (KO) as well as DJ-1 wildtype mice by activation of Nrf2-ARE pathway. Nrf2 nuclear translocation, robust increases of canonical Nrf2-driven genes and proteins, and dramatic activation of the ARE reporter gene, hPAP, were observed after tBHQ treatment. These results were further confirmed by siRNA mediated DJ-1 knockdown in primary cortical astrocytes from ARE-hPAP mice and tBHQ administration into the striatum of mouse brain. In addition, over-expression of Nrf2 with adenovirus preferentially in astrocytes from DJ-1 KO mice enhanced survival of neurons under oxidative insults. These findings indicate that activation of the Nrf2-ARE pathway is independent of DJ-1, and Nrf2 activation is a potential therapeutic target to prevent neurodegeneration in sporadic and DJ-1 familial Parkinson’s disease.
Nrf2; DJ-1; tBHQ; Parkinson’s disease