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1.  The Complex I Subunit NDUFA10 Selectively Rescues Drosophila pink1 Mutants through a Mechanism Independent of Mitophagy 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(11):e1004815.
Mutations in PINK1, a mitochondrially targeted serine/threonine kinase, cause autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease (PD). Substantial evidence indicates that PINK1 acts with another PD gene, parkin, to regulate mitochondrial morphology and mitophagy. However, loss of PINK1 also causes complex I (CI) deficiency, and has recently been suggested to regulate CI through phosphorylation of NDUFA10/ND42 subunit. To further explore the mechanisms by which PINK1 and Parkin influence mitochondrial integrity, we conducted a screen in Drosophila cells for genes that either phenocopy or suppress mitochondrial hyperfusion caused by pink1 RNAi. Among the genes recovered from this screen was ND42. In Drosophila pink1 mutants, transgenic overexpression of ND42 or its co-chaperone sicily was sufficient to restore CI activity and partially rescue several phenotypes including flight and climbing deficits and mitochondrial disruption in flight muscles. Here, the restoration of CI activity and partial rescue of locomotion does not appear to have a specific requirement for phosphorylation of ND42 at Ser-250. In contrast to pink1 mutants, overexpression of ND42 or sicily failed to rescue any Drosophila parkin mutant phenotypes. We also find that knockdown of the human homologue, NDUFA10, only minimally affecting CCCP-induced mitophagy, and overexpression of NDUFA10 fails to restore Parkin mitochondrial-translocation upon PINK1 loss. These results indicate that the in vivo rescue is due to restoring CI activity rather than promoting mitophagy. Our findings support the emerging view that PINK1 plays a role in regulating CI activity separate from its role with Parkin in mitophagy.
Author Summary
Two genes linked to heritable forms of the neurodegenerative movement disorder Parkinson's disease (PD), PINK1 and parkin, play important roles in mitochondrial homeostasis through mechanisms which include the degradation of dysfunctional mitochondria, termed mitophagy, and the maintenance of complex I (CI) activity. Here we report the findings of an RNAi based screen in Drosophila cells for genes that may regulate the PINK1-Parkin pathway which identified NDUFA10 (ND42 in Drosophila), a subunit of CI. Using a well-established cellular system and in vivo Drosophila genetics, we demonstrate that while NDUFA10/ND42 only plays a minimal role in mitophagy, restoration of CI activity through overexpression of either ND42 or its co-chaperone sicily is able to substantially rescue behavioral deficits in pink1 mutants but not parkin mutants. Moreover, while parkin overexpression is known to rescue pink1 mutants, it apparently achieves this without restoring CI activity. These results suggest that increasing CI activity or promoting mitophagy can be beneficial in pink1 mutants, and further highlights separable functions of PINK1 and Parkin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004815
PMCID: PMC4238976  PMID: 25412178
2.  TRAP1 rescues PINK1 loss-of-function phenotypes 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(14):2829-2841.
PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that is localized to mitochondria. It protects cells from oxidative stress by suppressing mitochondrial cytochrome c release, thereby preventing cell death. Mutations in Pink1 cause early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). Consistently, mitochondrial function is impaired in Pink1-linked PD patients and model systems. Previously, in vitro analysis implied that the protective effects of PINK1 depend on phosphorylation of the downstream factor, TNF receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1). Furthermore, TRAP1 has been shown to mitigate α-Synuclein-induced toxicity, linking α-Synuclein directly to mitochondrial dysfunction. These data suggest that TRAP1 seems to mediate protective effects on mitochondrial function in pathways that are affected in PD. Here we investigated the potential of TRAP1 to rescue dysfunction induced by either PINK1 or Parkin deficiency in vivo and in vitro. We show that overexpression of human TRAP1 is able to mitigate Pink1 but not parkin loss-of-function phenotypes in Drosophila. In addition, detrimental effects observed after RNAi-mediated silencing of complex I subunits were rescued by TRAP1 in Drosophila. Moreover, TRAP1 was able to rescue mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction upon siRNA-induced silencing of Pink1 but not parkin in human neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. Thus, our data suggest a functional role of TRAP1 in maintaining mitochondrial integrity downstream of PINK1 and complex I deficits but parallel to or upstream of Parkin.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt132
PMCID: PMC3690968  PMID: 23525905
3.  The Parkinson’s disease genes Fbxo7 and Parkin interact to mediate mitophagy 
Nature neuroscience  2013;16(9):10.1038/nn.3489.
Compelling evidence indicates that two autosomal recessive Parkinson’s disease genes, PINK1 (PARK6) and Parkin (PARK2), co-operate to mediate the autophagic clearance of damaged mitochondria (mitophagy). Mutations in the F-box domain containing protein Fbxo7 (PARK15) also cause early onset autosomal recessive Parkinson’s disease by an unknown mechanism. Here we show that Fbxo7 participates in mitochondrial maintenance through direct interaction with PINK1 and Parkin and plays a role in Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Cells with reduced Fbxo7 expression show deficiencies in Parkin mitochondrial translocation, ubiquitination of mitofusin 1 and mitophagy. In Drosophila, ectopic overexpression of Fbxo7 rescued loss of Parkin supporting a functional relationship between the two proteins. Parkinson’s disease-causing mutations in Fbxo7 interfere with this process, emphasising the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/nn.3489
PMCID: PMC3827746  PMID: 23933751
Fbxo7; Parkin; PINK1; mitofusin 1; mitophagy; Drosophila; Parkinson’s disease
4.  Discovery of catalytically active orthologues of the Parkinson's disease kinase PINK1: analysis of substrate specificity and impact of mutations 
Open biology  2011;1(3):110012.
Missense mutations of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) gene cause autosomal-recessive Parkinson's disease. To date, little is known about the intrinsic catalytic properties of PINK1 since the human enzyme displays such low kinase activity in vitro. We have discovered that, in contrast to mammalian PINK1, insect orthologues of PINK1 we have investigated—namely Drosophila melanogaster (dPINK1), Tribolium castaneum (TcPINK1) and Pediculus humanus corporis (PhcPINK1)—are active as judged by their ability to phosphorylate the generic substrate myelin basic protein. We have exploited the most active orthologue, TcPINK1, to assess its substrate specificity and elaborated a peptide substrate (PINKtide, KKWIpYRRSPRRR) that can be employed to quantify PINK1 kinase activity. Analysis of PINKtide variants reveal that PINK1 phosphorylates serine or threonine, but not tyrosine, and we show that PINK1 exhibits a preference for a proline at the +1 position relative to the phosphorylation site. We have also, for the first time, been able to investigate the effect of Parkinson's disease-associated PINK1 missense mutations, and found that nearly all those located within the kinase domain, as well as the C-terminal non-catalytic region, markedly suppress kinase activity. This emphasizes the crucial importance of PINK1 kinase activity in preventing the development of Parkinson's disease. Our findings will aid future studies aimed at understanding how the activity of PINK1 is regulated and the identification of physiological substrates.
doi:10.1098/rsob.110012
PMCID: PMC3352081  PMID: 22645651
biochemistry; Parkinson's disease; kinase

Results 1-4 (4)