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1.  PINK1 is activated by mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization and stimulates Parkin E3 ligase activity by phosphorylating Serine 65 
Open Biology  2012;2(5):120080.
Summary
Missense mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) cause autosomal-recessive inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). We have exploited our recent discovery that recombinant insect PINK1 is catalytically active to test whether PINK1 directly phosphorylates 15 proteins encoded by PD-associated genes as well as proteins reported to bind PINK1. We have discovered that insect PINK1 efficiently phosphorylates only one of these proteins, namely the E3 ligase Parkin. We have mapped the phosphorylation site to a highly conserved residue within the Ubl domain of Parkin at Ser65. We show that human PINK1 is specifically activated by mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) depolarization, enabling it to phosphorylate Parkin at Ser65. We further show that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 leads to marked activation of its E3 ligase activity that is prevented by mutation of Ser65 or inactivation of PINK1. We provide evidence that once activated, PINK1 autophosphorylates at several residues, including Thr257, which is accompanied by an electrophoretic mobility band-shift. These results provide the first evidence that PINK1 is activated following Δψm depolarization and suggest that PINK1 directly phosphorylates and activates Parkin. Our findings indicate that monitoring phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 and/or PINK1 at Thr257 represent the first biomarkers for examining activity of the PINK1-Parkin signalling pathway in vivo. Our findings also suggest that small molecule activators of Parkin that mimic the effect of PINK1 phosphorylation may confer therapeutic benefit for PD.
doi:10.1098/rsob.120080
PMCID: PMC3376738  PMID: 22724072
PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson's disease
2.  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
3.  Regulation of activity and localization of the WNK1 protein kinase by hyperosmotic stress 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;176(1):89-100.
Mutations within the WNK1 (with-no-K[Lys] kinase-1) gene cause Gordon's hypertension syndrome. Little is known about how WNK1 is regulated. We demonstrate that WNK1 is rapidly activated and phosphorylated at multiple residues after exposure of cells to hyperosmotic conditions and that activation is mediated by the phosphorylation of its T-loop Ser382 residue, possibly triggered by a transautophosphorylation reaction. Activation of WNK1 coincides with the phosphorylation and activation of two WNK1 substrates, namely, the protein kinases STE20/SPS1-related proline alanine–rich kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress response kinase-1 (OSR1). Small interfering RNA depletion of WNK1 impairs SPAK/OSR1 activity and phosphorylation of residues targeted by WNK1. Hyperosmotic stress induces rapid redistribution of WNK1 from the cytosol to vesicular structures that may comprise trans-Golgi network (TGN)/recycling endosomes, as they display rapid movement, colocalize with clathrin, adaptor protein complex 1 (AP-1), and TGN46, but not the AP-2 plasma membrane–coated pit marker nor the endosomal markers EEA1, Hrs, and LAMP1. Mutational analysis suggests that the WNK1 C-terminal noncatalytic domain mediates vesicle localization. Our observations shed light on the mechanism by which WNK1 is regulated by hyperosmotic stress.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200605093
PMCID: PMC2063630  PMID: 17190791

Results 1-3 (3)