Oxidative stress-mediated neuronal dysfunction is characteristic of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). The enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) catalyzes the formation of L-DOPA, the rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of dopamine. A lack of dopamine in the striatum is the most characteristic feature of PD, and the cause of the most dominant symptoms. Loss of function mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase (PINK1) gene cause autosomal recessive PD. This study explored the basic mechanisms underlying the involvement of pink1 in oxidative stress-mediated PD pathology using zebrafish as a tool. We generated a transgenic line, Tg(pink1:EGFP), and used it to study the effect of oxidative stress (exposure to H2O2) on pink1 expression. GFP expression was enhanced throughout the brain of zebrafish larvae subjected to oxidative stress. In addition to a widespread increase in pink1 mRNA expression, mild oxidative stress induced a clear decline in tyrosine hydroxylase 2 (th2), but not tyrosine hydroxylase 1 (th1) expression, in the brain of wild-type larvae. The drug L-Glutathione Reduced (LGR) has been associated with anti-oxidative and possible neuroprotective properties. Administration of LGR normalized the increased fluorescence intensity indicating pink1 transgene expression and endogenous pink1 mRNA expression in larvae subjected to oxidative stress by H2O2. In the pink1 morpholino oliogonucleotide-injected larvae, the reduction in the expression of th1 and th2 was partially rescued by LGR. The pink1 gene is a sensitive marker of oxidative stress in zebrafish, and LGR effectively normalizes the consequences of mild oxidative stress, suggesting that the neuroprotective effects of pink1 and LGR may be significant and useful in drug development.
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.
biochemistry; Parkinson's disease; kinase
Various genetic or toxin-induced mouse models are frequently used for investigation of early PD pathology. Although olfactory impairment is known to precede motor symptoms by years, it is not known whether it is caused by impairments in the brain, the olfactory epithelium, or both. In this study, we investigated the olfactory function in three genetic Parkinson’s disease (PD) mouse models and mice treated with MPTP intraperitoneally and intranasally. To investigate olfactory function, we performed electro-olfactogram recordings (EOGs) and an olfactory behavior test (cookie-finding test). We show that neither a parkin knockout mouse strain, nor intraperitoneal MPTP treated animals display any olfactory impairment in EOG recordings and the applied behavior test. We also found no difference in the responses of the olfactory epithelium to odorants in a mouse strain over-expressing doubly mutated α-synuclein, while this mouse strain was not suitable to test olfaction in a cookie-finding test as it displays a mobility impairment. A transgenic mouse expressing mutated α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons performed equal to control animals in the cookie-finding test. Further we show that intranasal MPTP application can cause functional damage of the olfactory epithelium.
Mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) cause early onset autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease (PD). PINK1 is a 63 kDa protein kinase, which exerts a neuroprotective function and is known to localize to mitochondria. Upon entry into the organelle, PINK1 is cleaved to produce a ∼53 kDa protein (ΔN-PINK1). In this paper, we show that PINK1 is cleaved between amino acids Ala-103 and Phe-104 to generate ΔN-PINK1. We demonstrate that a reduced ability to cleave PINK1, and the consequent accumulation of full-length protein, results in mitochondrial abnormalities reminiscent of those observed in PINK1 knockout cells, including disruption of the mitochondrial network and a reduction in mitochondrial mass. Notably, we assessed three N-terminal PD-associated PINK1 mutations located close to the cleavage site and, while these do not prevent PINK1 cleavage, they alter the ratio of full-length to ΔN-PINK1 protein in cells, resulting in an altered mitochondrial phenotype. Finally, we show that PINK1 interacts with the mitochondrial protease presenilin-associated rhomboid-like protein (PARL) and that loss of PARL results in aberrant PINK1 cleavage in mammalian cells. These combined results suggest that PINK1 cleavage is important for basal mitochondrial health and that PARL cleaves PINK1 to produce the ΔN-PINK1 fragment.
Loss of Omi/HtrA2 function leads to nerve cell loss in mouse models and has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Omi/HtrA2 is a serine protease released as a pro-apoptotic factor from the mitochondrial intermembrane space into the cytosol. Under physiological conditions, Omi/HtrA2 is thought to be involved in protection against cellular stress, but the cytological and molecular mechanisms are not clear. Omi/HtrA2 deficiency caused an accumulation of reactive oxygen species and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. In Omi/HtrA2 knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts, as well as in Omi/HtrA2 silenced human HeLa cells and Drosophila S2R+ cells, we found elongated mitochondria by live cell imaging. Electron microscopy confirmed the mitochondrial morphology alterations and showed abnormal cristae structure. Examining the levels of proteins involved in mitochondrial fusion, we found a selective up-regulation of more soluble OPA1 protein. Complementation of knockout cells with wild-type Omi/HtrA2 but not with the protease mutant [S306A]Omi/HtrA2 reversed the mitochondrial elongation phenotype and OPA1 alterations. Finally, co-immunoprecipitation showed direct interaction of Omi/HtrA2 with endogenous OPA1. Thus, we show for the first time a direct effect of loss of Omi/HtrA2 on mitochondrial morphology and demonstrate a novel role of this mitochondrial serine protease in the modulation of OPA1. Our results underscore a critical role of impaired mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegenerative disorders.
ANT, adenine nucleotide translocator; Drp1, dynamin-related protein 1; Fis1, mitochondrial fission 1 protein; Hsp90, heat shock protein 90; HtrA2, high temperature requirement protein A2; KO, knockout; MEF, mouse embryonic fibroblast; Mfn2, mitofusin 2; MMP, mitochondrial membrane potential; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PD, Parkinson's disease; ROS, reactive oxygen species; SD, standard deviation; SEM, standard error of the mean; VDAC1, voltage dependent anion channel 1; WT, wild-type; Omi; HtrA2; Mitochondria; Fusion; OPA1; Parkinson's disease
Mutations in PINK1 and parkin cause autosomal recessive parkinsonism, a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons. To highlight potential therapeutic pathways we have identified factors that genetically interact with parkin/PINK1. Here we report that overexpression of the translation inhibitor 4E-BP can suppress all pathologic phenotypes including degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila. 4E-BP is activated in vivo by the TOR inhibitor rapamycin, which we find can potently suppress pathology in PINK1/parkin mutants. Rapamycin also ameliorates mitochondrial defects in cells from parkin-mutant patients. Recently, 4E-BP was shown to be inhibited by the most common cause of parkinsonism, dominant mutations in LRRK2. Here we further show that loss of the Drosophila LRRK2 homolog activates 4E-BP and is also able to suppress PINK1/parkin pathology. Thus, in conjunction with recent findings our results suggest that pharmacologic stimulation of 4E-BP activity may represent a viable therapeutic approach for multiple forms of parkinsonism.
parkinsonism; neurodegeneration; parkin; PINK1; 4E-BP; rapamycin; TOR; LRRK2
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disease characterized by the clinical triad: tremor, akinesia and rigidity. Several studies have suggested that PD patients show disturbances in olfaction at the earliest onset of the disease. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is becoming a powerful model organism to study neurodegenerative diseases. We sought to use this system to explore olfactory dysfunction, if any, in PINK1 mutants, which is a model for PD. PINK1 mutants display many important diagnostic symptoms of the disease such as akinetic motor behavior. In the present study, we describe for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, neurophysiological and neuroanatomical results concerning the olfactory function in PINK1 mutant flies. Electroantennograms were recorded in response to synthetic and natural volatiles (essential oils) from groups of PINK1 mutant adults at three different time points in their life cycle: one from 3–5 day-old flies, from 15–20 and from 27–30 days. The results obtained were compared with the same age-groups of wild type flies. We found that mutant adults showed a decrease in the olfactory response to 1-hexanol, α-pinene and essential oil volatiles. This olfactory response in mutant adults decreased even more as the flies aged. Immunohistological analysis of the antennal lobes in these mutants revealed structural abnormalities, especially in the expression of Bruchpilot protein, a marker for synaptic active zones. The combination of electrophysiological and morphological results suggests that the altered synaptic organization may be due to a neurodegenerative process. Our results indicate that this model can be used as a tool for understanding PD pathogensis and pathophysiology. These results help to explore the potential of using olfaction as a means of monitoring PD progression and developing new treatments.
High Temperature Requirement A2 (HtrA2/Omi) is a mitochondrial protease that exhibits pro-apoptotic and cell protective properties and has been linked to Parkinson disease (PD). Impaired mitochondrial function is a common trait in PD patients, and is likely to play a significant role in pathogenesis of parkinsonism, but the molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Genetic studies in Drosophila have provided valuable insight into the function of other PD-linked genes, in particular PINK1 and parkin, and their role in maintaining mitochondrial integrity. Recently, HtrA2 was shown to be phosphorylated in a PINK1-dependent manner, suggesting it might act in the PINK1 pathway. Here, we describe the characterization of mutations in Drosophila HtrA2, and genetic analysis of its function with PINK1 and parkin. Interestingly, we find HtrA2 appears to be dispensable for developmental or stress-induced apoptosis. In addition, we found HtrA2 mutants share some phenotypic similarities with parkin and PINK1 mutants, suggesting that it may function in maintaining mitochondrial integrity. Our genetic interaction studies, including analysis of double-mutant combinations and epistasis experiments, suggest HtrA2 acts downstream of PINK1 but in a pathway parallel to Parkin.
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that change in response to extracellular stimuli. These changes are essential for normal mitochondrial/cellular function and are controlled by a tight balance between two antagonistic pathways that promote fusion and fission. Although some molecules have been identified to mediate the mitochondrial fusion and fission process, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial molecule that regulates a variety of mitochondrial functions. Here, we examined the role of TRAP1 in the regulation of morphology. Stable TRAP1 knockdown cells showed abnormal mitochondrial morphology, and we observed significant decreases in dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), mitochondrial fission proteins. Similar results were obtained by transient knockdown of TRAP1 in two different cell lines, SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and KNS-42 glioma cells. However, TRAP1 knockdown did not affect expression levels of fusion proteins. The reduction in Drp1 and Mff protein levels was rescued following treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132. These results suggest that TRAP1 regulates the expression of fission proteins and controls mitochondrial fusion/fission, which affects mitochondrial/cellular function.
The role of the Sin3A transcriptional corepressor in regulating the cell cycle is established in various metazoans. Little is known, however, about the signaling pathways that trigger or are triggered by Sin3A function. To discover genes that work in similar or opposing pathways to Sin3A during development, we have performed an unbiased screen of deficiencies of the Drosophila third chromosome. Additionally, we have performed a targeted loss of function screen to identify cell cycle genes that genetically interact with Sin3A. We have identified genes that encode proteins involved in regulation of gene expression, signaling pathways and cell cycle that can suppress the curved wing phenotype caused by the knockdown of Sin3A. These data indicate that Sin3A function is quite diverse and impacts a wide variety of cellular processes.
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are a common cause of autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 encodes a multi-domain protein containing GTPase and kinase enzymatic domains. Disease-associated mutations in LRRK2 variably influence enzymatic activity with the common G2019S variant leading to enhanced kinase activity. Mutant LRRK2 induces neuronal toxicity through a kinase-dependent mechanism suggesting that kinase activity is important for mediating the pathogenic effects of LRRK2 mutations. A number of LRRK2 kinase substrates have been identified in vitro but whether they represent authentic physiological substrates in mammalian cells or tissues is not yet clear. The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein, 4E-BP1, was recently identified as a potential substrate of LRRK2 kinase activity in vitro and in Drosophila with phosphorylation occurring at Thr37 and Thr46. Here, we explore a potential interaction of LRRK2 and 4E-BP1 in mammalian cells and brain. We find that LRRK2 can weakly phosphorylate 4E-BP1 in vitro but LRRK2 overexpression is not able to alter endogenous 4E-BP1 phosphorylation in mammalian cells. In mammalian neurons LRRK2 and 4E-BP1 display minimal co-localization, whereas the subcellular distribution, protein complex formation and covalent post-translational modification of endogenous 4E-BP1 are not altered in the brains of LRRK2 knockout or mutant LRRK2 transgenic mice. In the brain, the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 at Thr37 and Thr46 does not change in LRRK2 knockout or mutant LRRK2 transgenic mice, nor is 4E-BP1 phosphorylation altered in idiopathic or G2019S mutant PD brains. Collectively, our results suggest that 4E-BP1 is neither a major nor robust physiological substrate of LRRK2 in mammalian cells or brain.
Mitochondrial fusion is essential to organelle homeostasis and organ health. Inexplicably, loss of function mutations of mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) specifically affect neurological tissue, causing Charcot Marie Tooth syndrome (CMT) and atypical optic atrophy. As CMT-linked Mfn2 mutations are predominantly within the GTPase domain, we postulated that Mfn2 mutations in other functional domains might affect non-neurological tissues. Here, we defined in vitro and in vivo consequences of rare human mutations in the poorly characterized Mfn2 HR1 domain. Human exome sequencing data identified 4 rare non-synonymous Mfn2 HR1 domain mutations, two bioinformatically predicted as damaging. Recombinant expression of these (Mfn2 M393I and R400Q) in Mfn2-null murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) revealed incomplete rescue of characteristic mitochondrial fragmentation, compared to wild-type human Mfn2 (hMfn2); Mfn2 400Q uniquely induced mitochondrial fragmentation in normal MEFs. To compare Mfn2 mutation effects in neurological and non-neurological tissues in vivo, hMfn2 and the two mutants were expressed in Drosophila eyes or heart tubes made deficient in endogenous fly mitofusin (dMfn) through organ-specific RNAi expression. The two mutants induced similar Drosophila eye phenotypes: small eyes and an inability to rescue the eye pathology induced by suppression of dMfn. In contrast, Mfn2 400Q induced more severe cardiomyocyte mitochondrial fragmentation and cardiac phenotypes than Mfn2 393I, including heart tube dilation, depressed fractional shortening, and progressively impaired negative geotaxis. These data reveal a central functional role for Mfn2 HR1 domains, describe organ-specific effects of two Mfn2 HR1 mutations, and strongly support prospective studies of Mfn2 400Q in heritable human heart disease of unknown genetic etiology.
The human gene C10orf2 encodes the mitochondrial replicative DNA helicase Twinkle, mutations of which are responsible for a significant fraction of cases of autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia (adPEO), a human mitochondrial disease caused by defects in intergenomic communication. We report the analysis of orthologous mutations in the Drosophila melanogaster mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) helicase gene, d-mtDNA helicase. Increased expression of wild type d-mtDNA helicase using the UAS-GAL4 system leads to an increase in mtDNA copy number throughout adult life without any noteworthy phenotype, whereas overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing the K388A mutation in the helicase active site results in a severe depletion of mtDNA and a lethal phenotype. Overexpression of two d-mtDNA helicase variants equivalent to two human adPEO mutations shows differential effects. The A442P mutation exhibits a dominant negative effect similar to that of the active site mutant. In contrast, overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing the W441C mutation results in a slight decrease in mtDNA copy number during the third instar larval stage, and a moderate decrease in life span in the adult population. Overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing either the K388A or A442P mutations causes a mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defect that significantly reduces cell proliferation. The mitochondrial impairment caused by these mutations promotes apoptosis, arguing that mitochondria regulate programmed cell death in Drosophila. Our study of d-mtDNA helicase overexpression provides a tractable Drosophila model for understanding the cellular and molecular effects of human adPEO mutations.
Parkin is an E3 ubiquitin ligase, mutations in which cause Autosomal Recessive Parkinson's Disease. Many studies aimed at understanding Parkin function, regulation and dysfunction are performed using N-terminal epitope tags. We report here that the use of small tags such as FLAG, cMyc and HA, influence the physical stability and activity of Parkin in and out of cells, perturbing the autoinhibited native state of Parkin, resulting in an active-for-autoubiquitination species.