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See detailMitochondrial Morphology, Function and Homeostasis Are Impaired by Expression of an N-terminal Calpain Cleavage Fragment of Ataxin-3.
Harmuth, Tina; Prell-Schicker, Caroline; Weber, Jonasz J. et al

in Frontiers in molecular neuroscience (2018), 11

Alterations in mitochondrial morphology and function have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease. Metabolic defects, resulting ... [more ▼]

Alterations in mitochondrial morphology and function have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease. Metabolic defects, resulting from dysfunctional mitochondria, have been reported in patients and respective animal models of all those diseases. Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 (SCA3), another neurodegenerative disorder, also presents with metabolic defects and loss of body weight in early disease stages although the possible role of mitochondrial dysfunction in SCA3 pathology is still to be determined. Interestingly, the SCA3 disease protein ataxin-3, which is predominantly localized in cytoplasm and nucleus, has also been associated with mitochondria in both its mutant and wildtype form. This observation provides an interesting link to a potential mitochondrial involvement of mutant ataxin-3 in SCA3 pathogenesis. Furthermore, proteolytic cleavage of ataxin-3 has been shown to produce toxic fragments and even overexpression of artificially truncated forms of ataxin-3 resulted in mitochondria deficits. Therefore, we analyzed the repercussions of expressing a naturally occurring N-terminal cleavage fragment of ataxin-3 and the influence of an endogenous expression of the S256 cleavage fragment in vitro and in vivo. In our study, expression of a fragment derived from calpain cleavage induced mitochondrial fragmentation and cristae alterations leading to a significantly decreased capacity of mitochondrial respiration and contributing to an increased susceptibility to apoptosis. Furthermore, analyzing mitophagy revealed activation of autophagy in the early pathogenesis with reduced lysosomal activity. In conclusion, our findings indicate that cleavage of ataxin-3 by calpains results in fragments which interfere with mitochondrial function and mitochondrial degradation processes. [less ▲]

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See detailMetformin reverses TRAP1 mutation-associated alterations in mitochondrial function in Parkinson's disease
Fitzgerald, Julia C.; Zimprich, Alexander; Carvajal-Berrio, Daniel A. et al

in Brain : A Journal of Neurology (2017), 140(9), 2444-2459

The mitochondrial proteins TRAP1 and HtrA2 have previously been shown to be phosphorylated in the presence of the Parkinson’s disease kinase PINK1 but the downstream signaling is unclear. HtrA2 and PINK1 ... [more ▼]

The mitochondrial proteins TRAP1 and HtrA2 have previously been shown to be phosphorylated in the presence of the Parkinson’s disease kinase PINK1 but the downstream signaling is unclear. HtrA2 and PINK1 loss of function causes parkinsonism in humans and animals. Here, we identified TRAP1 as an interactor of HtrA2 using an unbiased mass spectrometry approach. In our human cell models, TRAP1 overexpression is protective, rescuing HtrA2 and PINK1-associated mitochondrial dysfunction and suggesting that TRAP1 acts downstream of HtrA2 and PINK1. HtrA2 regulates TRAP1 protein levels, but TRAP1 is not a direct target of HtrA2 protease activity. Following genetic screening of Parkinson’s disease patients and healthy controls, we also report the first TRAP1 mutation leading to complete loss of functional protein in a patient with late onset Parkinson’s disease. Analysis of fibroblasts derived from the patient reveal that oxygen consumption, ATP output and reactive oxygen species are increased compared to healthy individuals. This is coupled with an increased pool of free NADH, increased mitochondrial biogenesis, triggering of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and sensitivity to mitochondrial removal and apoptosis. These data highlight the role of TRAP1 in the regulation of energy metabolism and mitochondrial quality control. Interestingly, the diabetes drug metformin reverses mutation-associated alterations on energy metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis and restores mitochondrial membrane potential. In summary, our data show that TRAP1 acts downstream of PINK1 and HtrA2 for mitochondrial fine tuning, whereas TRAP1 loss of function leads to reduced control of energy metabolism, ultimately impacting mitochondrial membrane potential. These findings offer new insight into mitochondrial pathologies in Parkinson’s disease and provide new prospects for targeted therapies. [less ▲]

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See detailOverexpression of synphilin-1 promotes clearance of soluble and misfolded alpha-synuclein without restoring the motor phenotype in aged A30P transgenic mice.
Casadei, Nicolas; Pohler, Anne-Maria; Tomas-Zapico, Cristina et al

in Human molecular genetics (2014), 23(3), 767-81

Lewy bodies and neurites are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease. These structures are composed of fibrillized and ubiquitinated alpha-synuclein suggesting that impaired protein clearance is ... [more ▼]

Lewy bodies and neurites are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease. These structures are composed of fibrillized and ubiquitinated alpha-synuclein suggesting that impaired protein clearance is an important event in aggregate formation. The A30P mutation is known for its fast oligomerization, but slow fibrillization rate. Despite its toxicity to neurons, mechanisms involved in either clearance or conversion of A30P alpha-synuclein from its soluble state into insoluble fibrils and their effects in vivo are poorly understood. Synphilin-1 is present in Lewy bodies, interacting with alpha-synuclein in vivo and in vitro and promotes its sequestration into aggresomes, which are thought to act as cytoprotective agents facilitating protein degradation. We therefore crossed animals overexpressing A30P alpha-synuclein with synphilin-1 transgenic mice to analyze its impact on aggregation, protein clearance and phenotype progression. We observed that co-expression of synphilin-1 mildly delayed the motor phenotype caused by A30P alpha-synuclein. Additionally, the presence of N- and C-terminal truncated alpha-synuclein species and fibrils were strongly reduced in double-transgenic mice when compared with single-transgenic A30P mice. Insolubility of mutant A30P and formation of aggresomes was still detectable in aged double-transgenic mice, paralleled by an increase of ubiquitinated proteins and high autophagic activity. Hence, this study supports the notion that co-expression of synphilin-1 promotes formation of autophagic-susceptible aggresomes and consecutively the degradation of human A30P alpha-synuclein. Notably, although synphilin-1 overexpression significantly reduced formation of fibrils and astrogliosis in aged animals, a similar phenotype is present in single- and double-transgenic mice suggesting additional neurotoxic processes in disease progression. [less ▲]

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See detailEIF4G1 is neither a strong nor a common risk factor for Parkinson's disease: evidence from large European cohorts
Huttenlocher, Johanna; Krüger, Rejko UL; Capetian, Philipp et al

in Journal of medical genetics (2014), 0

BACKGROUND: Missense mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma 1 (EIF4G1) gene have previously been implicated in familial Parkinson's disease (PD). A large PD family with ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Missense mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma 1 (EIF4G1) gene have previously been implicated in familial Parkinson's disease (PD). A large PD family with autosomal-dominant segregation showed a heterozygous missense mutation and additional patients were found to have unique sequence variants that have not been observed in controls. Subsequent studies have reported contradictory findings. METHODS: We assessed the relevance of EIF4G1 mutations in a European cohort of 2146 PD patients. Of these, 2051 sporadic PD patients were screened for the reported p.Ala502Val and p.Arg1205His mutations. In addition, the complete coding region of EIF4G1 was directly sequenced in 95 familial PD patients with autosomal-dominant inheritance. Moreover, we imputed the p.Arg1205His substitution and tested for association with PD in the Icelandic population (93 698 samples). RESULTS: We did not observe the presence of the p.Ala502Val substitution in our cohort; however, the p.Arg1205His mutation was identified in one sporadic PD patient. The same mutation was also found in 76 Icelandic subjects older than 65 years using haplotype imputing. Only five of these subjects reported PD symptoms (OR 1.3, p=0.50). Thus, if causal, the p.Arg1205His EIF4G1 mutation has a low penetrance or a late onset manifestation. A novel variant p.Arg566Cys found in a patient with familial PD did not cosegregate with PD in all three affected siblings. All further recently published EIF4G1 mutations found in our cohort are likely to be benign polymorphisms. CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest genetic study of EIF4G1 mutations in PD. Our data do not support the EIF4G1 gene as a high-risk PD locus, neither for the familial nor the sporadic condition. Furthermore, the p.Arg1205His mutation is not significantly associated with increased risk of PD in the Icelandic population. Therefore, caution should be exercised when interpreting EIF4G1 genotyping results in isolated patients and PD families. In summary, diagnostic testing of EIF4G1 should not be recommended in clinical settings. [less ▲]

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See detailThe modulation of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis risk by ataxin-2 intermediate polyglutamine expansions is a specific effect.
Gispert, Suzana; Kurz, Alexander; Waibel, Stefan et al

in Neurobiology of disease (2012), 45(1), 356-61

Full expansions of the polyglutamine domain (polyQ>/=34) within the polysome-associated protein ataxin-2 (ATXN2) are the cause of a multi-system neurodegenerative disorder, which usually presents as a ... [more ▼]

Full expansions of the polyglutamine domain (polyQ>/=34) within the polysome-associated protein ataxin-2 (ATXN2) are the cause of a multi-system neurodegenerative disorder, which usually presents as a Spino-Cerebellar Ataxia and is therefore known as SCA2, but may rarely manifest as Levodopa-responsive Parkinson syndrome or as motor neuron disease. Intermediate expansions (27</=polyQ</=33) were reported to modify the risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). We have now tested the reproducibility and the specificity of this observation. In 559 independent ALS patients from Central Europe, the association of ATXN2 expansions (30</=polyQ</=35) with ALS was highly significant. The study of 1490 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) showed an enrichment of ATXN2 alleles 27/28 in a subgroup with familial cases, but the overall risk of sporadic PD was unchanged. No association was found between polyQ expansions in Ataxin-3 (ATXN3) and ALS risk. These data indicate a specific interaction between ATXN2 expansions and the causes of ALS, possibly through altered RNA-processing as a common pathogenic factor. [less ▲]

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See detailA large-scale genetic association study to evaluate the contribution of Omi/HtrA2 (PARK13) to Parkinson's disease.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Sharma, Manu; Riess, Olaf et al

in Neurobiology of aging (2011), 32(3), 5489-18

High-profile studies have provided conflicting results regarding the involvement of the Omi/HtrA2 gene in Parkinson's disease (PD) susceptibility. Therefore, we performed a large-scale analysis of the ... [more ▼]

High-profile studies have provided conflicting results regarding the involvement of the Omi/HtrA2 gene in Parkinson's disease (PD) susceptibility. Therefore, we performed a large-scale analysis of the association of common Omi/HtrA2 variants in the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson's disease (GEO-PD) consortium. GEO-PD sites provided clinical and genetic data including affection status, gender, ethnicity, age at study, age at examination (all subjects); age at onset and family history of PD (patients). Genotyping was performed for the five most informative SNPs spanning the Omi/HtrA2 gene in approximately 2-3 kb intervals (rs10779958, rs2231250, rs72470544, rs1183739, rs2241028). Fixed as well as random effect models were used to provide summary risk estimates of Omi/HtrA2 variants. The 20 GEO-PD sites provided data for 6378 cases and 8880 controls. No overall significant associations for the five Omi/HtrA2 SNPs and PD were observed using either fixed effect or random effect models. The summary odds ratios ranged between 0.98 and 1.08 and the estimates of between-study heterogeneity were not large (non-significant Q statistics for all 5 SNPs; I(2) estimates 0-28%). Trends for association were seen for participants of Scandinavian descent for rs2241028 (OR 1.41, p=0.04) and for rs1183739 for age at examination (cut-off 65 years; OR 1.17, p=0.02), but these would not be significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons and their Bayes factors were only modest. This largest association study performed to define the role of any gene in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease revealed no overall strong association of Omi/HtrA2 variants with PD in populations worldwide. [less ▲]

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See detailOlfactory neuron-specific expression of A30P alpha-synuclein exacerbates dopamine deficiency and hyperactivity in a novel conditional model of early Parkinson's disease stages.
Nuber, Silke; Petrasch-Parwez, Elisabeth; Arias-Carrion, Oscar et al

in Neurobiology of disease (2011), 44(2), 192-204

Mutations in the N-terminus of the gene encoding alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) are linked to autosomal dominantly inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). The vast majority of PD patients develop ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the N-terminus of the gene encoding alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) are linked to autosomal dominantly inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). The vast majority of PD patients develop neuropsychiatric symptoms preceding motor impairments. During this premotor stage, synucleinopathy is first detectable in the olfactory bulb (OB) and brain stem nuclei; however its impact on interconnected brain regions and related symptoms is still less far understood. Using a novel conditional transgenic mouse model, displaying region-specific expression of human mutant alpha-syn, we evaluated effect and reversibility of olfactory synucleinopathy. Our data showed that induction of mutant A30P alpha-syn expression increased transgenic deposition into somatodendritic compartment of dopaminergic neurons, without generating fibrillar inclusions. We found reversibly reduced levels of dopamine and metabolites in the OB, suggesting an impact of A30P alpha-syn on olfactory neurotransmitter content. We further showed that mutant A30P expression led to neurodegenerative changes on an ultrastructural level and a behaviorally hyperactive response correlated with novelty, odor processing and stress associated with an increased dopaminergic tone in midbrain regions. Our present data indicate that mutant (A30P) alpha-syn is directly implicated in reduction of dopamine signaling in OB interneurons, which mediates further alterations in brain regions without transgenic expression leading functionally to a hyperactive response. These modulations of neurotransmission may underlie in part some of the early neuropsychiatric symptoms in PD preceding dysfunction of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. [less ▲]

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See detailRole of sepiapterin reductase gene at the PARK3 locus in Parkinson's disease.
Sharma, Manu; Maraganore, Demetrius M.; Ioannidis, John P. A. et al

in Neurobiology of aging (2011), 32(11), 21081-5

Sepiapterin reductase (SPR) gene is an enzyme which catalyses the final step of tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis (BH4) and was implicated in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis as a candidate gene for ... [more ▼]

Sepiapterin reductase (SPR) gene is an enzyme which catalyses the final step of tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis (BH4) and was implicated in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis as a candidate gene for PARK3 locus. A number of studies yielded association of the PARK3 locus with PD, and SPR knockout mice were shown to display parkinsonian features. To evaluate the role of SPR gene polymorphisms in diverse populations in PD, we performed collaborative analyses in the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson Disease (GEO-PD) Consortium. A total of 5 single nucleotide polymorphisms (3 in the promoter region and 2 in the 3' untranslated region [UTR]) were genotyped. Fixed as well as random effect models were used to provide summary risk estimates of SPR variants. A total of 19 sites provided data for 6547 cases and 9321 controls. Overall odds ratio estimates varied from 0.92 to 1.01. No overall association with the SPR gene using either fixed effect or random effect model was observed in the studied population. I(2) Metric varied from 0% to 36.2%. There was some evidence for an association for participants of North European/Scandinavian descent with the strongest signal for rs1876487 (odds ratio = 0.82; p value = 0.003). Interestingly, families which were used to map the PARK3 locus, have Scandinavian ancestry suggesting a founder effect. In conclusion, this large association study for the SPR gene revealed no association for PD worldwide. However, taking the initial mapping of the PARK3 into account, the role of a population-specific effect warrants consideration in future studies. [less ▲]

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See detailDissecting the role of the mitochondrial chaperone mortalin in Parkinson's disease: functional impact of disease-related variants on mitochondrial homeostasis.
Burbulla, Lena F.; Schelling, Carina; Kato, Hiroki et al

in Human molecular genetics (2010), 19(22), 4437-52

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the ... [more ▼]

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the PD-associated protein DJ-1. Recently, two amino acid exchanges in the ATPase domain (R126W) and the substrate-binding domain (P509S) of mortalin were identified in Spanish PD patients. Here, we identified a separate and novel variant (A476T) in the substrate-binding domain of mortalin in German PD patients. To define a potential role as a susceptibility factor in PD, we characterized the functions of all three variants in different cellular models. In vitro import assays revealed normal targeting of all mortalin variants. In neuronal and non-neuronal human cell lines, the disease-associated variants caused a mitochondrial phenotype of increased reactive oxygen species and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential, which were exacerbated upon proteolytic stress. These functional impairments correspond with characteristic alterations of the mitochondrial network in cells overexpressing mutant mortalin compared with wild-type (wt), which were confirmed in fibroblasts from a carrier of the A476T variant. In line with a loss of function hypothesis, knockdown of mortalin in human cells caused impaired mitochondrial function that was rescued by wt mortalin, but not by the variants. Our genetic and functional studies of novel disease-associated variants in the mortalin gene define a loss of mortalin function, which causes impaired mitochondrial function and dynamics. Our results support the role of this mitochondrial chaperone in neurodegeneration and underscore the concept of impaired mitochondrial protein quality control in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailPeriphilin is a novel interactor of synphilin-1, a protein implicated in Parkinson's disease.
Soehn, Anne S.; Franck, Thomas; Biskup, Saskia et al

in Neurogenetics (2010), 11(2), 203-15

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the presence of Lewy bodies. Alpha-synuclein and its interactor synphilin-1 are major ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the presence of Lewy bodies. Alpha-synuclein and its interactor synphilin-1 are major components of these inclusions. Rare mutations in the alpha-synuclein and synphilin-1 genes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of PD; however, the normal function of these proteins is far from being completely elucidated. We, thus, searched for novel synphilin-1-interacting proteins and deciphered periphilin as new interactor. Periphilin isoforms are involved in multiple cellular functions in vivo, and the protein is broadly expressed during embryogenesis and in the adult brain. We show that periphilin displays an overlapping expression pattern with synphilin-1 in cellular and animal models and in Lewy bodies of PD patients. Functional studies demonstrate that periphilin, as previously shown for synphilin-1, displays an antiapoptotic function by reducing caspase-3 activity. Searching for mutations in the periphilin gene, we detected a K69E substitution in two patients of a PD family. Taken together, these findings support for the first time an involvement of periphilin in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailTransgenic overexpression of the alpha-synuclein interacting protein synphilin-1 leads to behavioral and neuropathological alterations in mice.
Nuber, Silke; Franck, Thomas; Wolburg, Hartwig et al

in Neurogenetics (2010), 11(1), 107-20

Synphilin-1 has been identified as an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and LRRK2, proteins which are mutated in familial forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Subsequently, synphilin-1 has also ... [more ▼]

Synphilin-1 has been identified as an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and LRRK2, proteins which are mutated in familial forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Subsequently, synphilin-1 has also been shown to be an intrinsic component of Lewy bodies in sporadic PD. In order to elucidate the role of synphilin-1 in the pathogenesis of PD, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type and mutant (R621C) synphilin-1 driven by a mouse prion protein promoter. Transgenic expression of both wild-type and the R621C variant synphilin-1 resulted in increased dopamine levels of the nigrostriatal system in 3-month-old mice. Furthermore, we found pathological ubiquitin-positive inclusions in cerebellar sections and dark-cell degeneration of Purkinje cells. Both transgenic mouse lines showed significant reduction of motor skill learning and motor performance. These findings suggest a pathological role of overexpressed synphilin-1 in vivo and will help to further elucidate the mechanisms of protein aggregation and neuronal cell death. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst appraisal of brain pathology owing to A30P mutant alpha-synuclein.
Seidel, Kay; Schols, Ludger; Nuber, Silke et al

in Annals of neurology (2010), 67(5), 684-9

Familial Parkinson disease (PD) due to the A30P mutation in the SNCA gene encoding alpha-synuclein is clinically associated with PD symptoms. In this first pathoanatomical study of the brain of an A30P ... [more ▼]

Familial Parkinson disease (PD) due to the A30P mutation in the SNCA gene encoding alpha-synuclein is clinically associated with PD symptoms. In this first pathoanatomical study of the brain of an A30P mutation carrier, we observed neuronal loss in the substantia nigra, locus coeruleus, and dorsal motor vagal nucleus, as well as widespread occurrence of alpha-synuclein immunopositive Lewy bodies, Lewy neurites, and glial aggregates. Alpha-synuclein aggregates ultrastructurally resembled Lewy bodies, and biochemical analyses disclosed a significant load of insoluble alpha-synuclein, indicating neuropathological similarities between A30P disease patients and idiopathic PD, with a more severe neuropathology in A30P carriers. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced basal autophagy and impaired mitochondrial dynamics due to loss of Parkinson's disease-associated protein DJ-1.
Krebiehl, Guido; Ruckerbauer, Sabine; Burbulla, Lena F. et al

in PloS one (2010), 5(2), 9367

BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and degradation takes a central role in current paradigms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Loss of DJ-1 function is a rare cause of familial PD ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and degradation takes a central role in current paradigms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Loss of DJ-1 function is a rare cause of familial PD. Although a critical role of DJ-1 in oxidative stress response and mitochondrial function has been recognized, the effects on mitochondrial dynamics and downstream consequences remain to be determined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using DJ-1 loss of function cellular models from knockout (KO) mice and human carriers of the E64D mutation in the DJ-1 gene we define a novel role of DJ-1 in the integrity of both cellular organelles, mitochondria and lysosomes. We show that loss of DJ-1 caused impaired mitochondrial respiration, increased intramitochondrial reactive oxygen species, reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and characteristic alterations of mitochondrial shape as shown by quantitative morphology. Importantly, ultrastructural imaging and subsequent detailed lysosomal activity analyses revealed reduced basal autophagic degradation and the accumulation of defective mitochondria in DJ-1 KO cells, that was linked with decreased levels of phospho-activated ERK2. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We show that loss of DJ-1 leads to impaired autophagy and accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria that under physiological conditions would be compensated via lysosomal clearance. Our study provides evidence for a critical role of DJ-1 in mitochondrial homeostasis by connecting basal autophagy and mitochondrial integrity in Parkinson's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailFurther delineation of the association signal on chromosome 5 from the first whole genome association study in Parkinson's disease.
Sharma, Manu; Lichtner, Peter; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Neurobiology of aging (2009), 30(10), 1706-9

A recently published whole genome association study showed the involvement of 13 SNPs in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD). We performed a replication study to assess their involvement in our ... [more ▼]

A recently published whole genome association study showed the involvement of 13 SNPs in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD). We performed a replication study to assess their involvement in our sporadic cohort consisting of 663 cases and 1002 controls ascertained from Germany. One of the previously reported SNP, rs7723605, showed evidence of association (p value 0.04) in our sample. We further refined the signal by genotyping additional 22 SNPs around SNP rs7723605. Our refinement analysis, however, did not provide evidence for association in our sample after adjusting for multiple testing by permutation procedure. In conclusion, our study did not lend support to the finding that the reported SNPs are directly influencing the susceptibility to sporadic form of PD at least in our population. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and functional dissection of localization signals within ataxin-3.
Antony, Paul UL; Mäntele, Simone; Mollenkopf, Phillip et al

in Neurobiology of Disease (2009), 36(2), 280-92

Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) or Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) belongs to a group of autosomal dominant neurodegenerative diseases, which are caused by the expansion of a polyglutamine repeat in the ... [more ▼]

Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) or Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) belongs to a group of autosomal dominant neurodegenerative diseases, which are caused by the expansion of a polyglutamine repeat in the affected protein, in this case ataxin-3. Ataxin-3 is mainly localized in the cytoplasm; however, one hallmark of SCA3 is the formation of ataxin-3-containing protein aggregates in the nucleus of neurons. Currently, it is not known how mutant ataxin-3 translocates into the nucleus. We performed localization assays of recently proposed and novel potential signals, functionally confirmed the activity of a nuclear localization signal, identified two novel nuclear export signals (NES 77 and NES 141), and determined crucial amino acids. In addition, we demonstrate the relevance of the identified signals for the intracellular localization of the N- and C-terminus of ataxin-3. Our findings stress the importance of investigating the mechanisms, which influence the intracellular distribution of ataxin-3 during the pathogenesis of SCA3. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome-wide association study reveals genetic risk underlying Parkinson's disease.
Simon-Sanchez, Javier; Schulte, Claudia; Bras, Jose M. et al

in Nature genetics (2009), 41(12), 1308-12

We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1,713 individuals of European ancestry with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 3,978 controls. After replication in 3,361 cases and 4,573 controls, we ... [more ▼]

We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1,713 individuals of European ancestry with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 3,978 controls. After replication in 3,361 cases and 4,573 controls, we observed two strong association signals, one in the gene encoding alpha-synuclein (SNCA; rs2736990, OR = 1.23, P = 2.24 x 10(-16)) and another at the MAPT locus (rs393152, OR = 0.77, P = 1.95 x 10(-16)). We exchanged data with colleagues performing a GWAS in Japanese PD cases. Association to PD at SNCA was replicated in the Japanese GWAS, confirming this as a major risk locus across populations. We replicated the effect of a new locus detected in the Japanese cohort (PARK16, rs823128, OR = 0.66, P = 7.29 x 10(-8)) and provide supporting evidence that common variation around LRRK2 modulates risk for PD (rs1491923, OR = 1.14, P = 1.55 x 10(-5)). These data demonstrate an unequivocal role for common genetic variants in the etiology of typical PD and suggest population-specific genetic heterogeneity in this disease. [less ▲]

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See detailA comprehensive genetic study of the proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase in German Parkinson's disease patients.
Wahl, Claudia; Kautzmann, Sabine; Krebiehl, Guido et al

in Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) (2008), 115(8), 1141-8

Dysfunction of proteasomal protein degradation is involved in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently we identified the regulatory proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase as a novel interactor of ... [more ▼]

Dysfunction of proteasomal protein degradation is involved in neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently we identified the regulatory proteasomal subunit S6 ATPase as a novel interactor of synphilin-1, which is a substrate of the ubiquitin-ligase Parkin (PARK2) and an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein (PARK1). To further investigate a potential role in the pathogenesis of PD, we performed a detailed mutation analysis of the S6 ATPase gene in a large sample of 486 German sporadic and familial PD patients. Direct sequencing revealed two novel intronic variants. An insertion/deletion variant in intron 5 of the S6 ATPase gene was more frequent in patients compared to controls. Moreover, this variant was significantly more frequent in early-onset compared to late-onset PD patients. The identification of a genetic link between a regulatory proteasomal subunit and PD further underscores the relevance of disturbed protein degradation in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial translation initiation factor 3 gene polymorphism associated with Parkinson's disease.
Abahuni, Nadine; Gispert, Suzana; Bauer, Peter et al

in Neuroscience letters (2007), 414(2), 126-9

Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early in late-onset sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), but the mitochondrial protein network mediating PD pathogenesis is largely unknown. Mutations in the mitochondrial ... [more ▼]

Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early in late-onset sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), but the mitochondrial protein network mediating PD pathogenesis is largely unknown. Mutations in the mitochondrial serine-threonine kinase PINK1 have recently been shown to cause the early-onset autosomal recessive PARK6 variant of PD. We have now tested a candidate interactor protein of PINK1, the mitochondrial translation initiation factor 3 (MTIF3) for involvement in PD pathogenesis. In two independent case-control collectives, the c.798C>T polymorphism of the MTIF3 gene showed allelic association with PD, with a maximal significance of p=0.0073. An altered function of variant MTIF3 may affect the availability of mitochondrial encoded proteins, lead to oxidative stress and create vulnerability for PD. [less ▲]

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See detailCollaborative analysis of alpha-synuclein gene promoter variability and Parkinson disease.
Maraganore, Demetrius M.; de Andrade, Mariza; Elbaz, Alexis et al

in JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association (2006), 296(6), 661-70

CONTEXT: Identification and replication of susceptibility genes for Parkinson disease at the population level have been hampered by small studies with potential biases. Alpha-synuclein (SNCA) has been one ... [more ▼]

CONTEXT: Identification and replication of susceptibility genes for Parkinson disease at the population level have been hampered by small studies with potential biases. Alpha-synuclein (SNCA) has been one of the most promising susceptibility genes, but large-scale studies have been lacking. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether allele-length variability in the dinucleotide repeat sequence (REP1) of the SNCA gene promoter is associated with Parkinson disease susceptibility, whether SNCA promoter haplotypes are associated with Parkinson disease, and whether REP1 variability modifies age at onset. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We performed a collaborative analysis of individual-level data on SNCA REP1 and flanking markers in patients with Parkinson disease and controls. Study site recruitment, data collection, and analyses were performed between April 5, 2004, and December 31, 2005. Eighteen participating sites of a global genetics consortium provided clinical data. Genotyping was performed for SNCA REP1, -770, and -116 markers at individual sites; however, each site also provided 20 DNA samples for regenotyping centrally. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Measures included estimations of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls; a test of heterogeneity; analyses for association of single variants or haplotypes; and survival analyses for age at onset. RESULTS: Of the 18 sites, 11 met stringent criteria for concordance with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and low genotyping error rate. These 11 sites provided complete data for 2692 cases and 2652 controls. There was no heterogeneity across studies (P>.60). The SNCA REP1 alleles differed in frequency for cases and controls (P<.001). Genotypes defined by the 263 base-pair allele were associated with Parkinson disease (odds ratio, 1.43; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-1.69; P<.001 for trend). Multilocus haplotypes differed in frequency for cases and controls (global score statistic, P<.001). Two-loci haplotypes were associated with Parkinson disease only when they included REP1 as one of the loci. However, genotypes defined by REP1 alleles did not modify age at onset (P = .55). CONCLUSION: This large-scale collaborative analysis demonstrates that SNCA REP1 allele-length variability is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson disease. [less ▲]

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Peer Reviewed
See detailFunctional relevance of ceruloplasmin mutations in Parkinson's disease.
Hochstrasser, Helmine; Tomiuk, Jurgen; Walter, Uwe et al

in FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2005), 19(13), 1851-3

Increased iron levels of the substantia nigra and the discovery of ceruloplasmin mutations in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) imply impaired iron metabolism in this neurodegenerative disorder ... [more ▼]

Increased iron levels of the substantia nigra and the discovery of ceruloplasmin mutations in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) imply impaired iron metabolism in this neurodegenerative disorder. Ceruloplasmin has ferroxidase activity oxidizing iron(II) to iron(III). In the present study, we analyzed the amount of ceruloplasmin, iron, ferritin, and transferrin and the ceruloplasmin ferroxidase activity in serum of patients with the diagnosis of PD carrying the ceruloplasmin mutations I63T, D544E, and R793H. The impact of these missense mutations on the biosynthesis of holo-ceruloplasmin was investigated in cell culture experiments. Functional relevance was found for the ceruloplasmin mutations I63T and D544E. In vivo, the I63T mutation resulted in half the normal ceruloplasmin concentration and markedly reduced ferroxidase activity in serum from a heteroallelic PD patient. In cell culture, the I63T glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked ceruloplasmin isoform was retained in the endoplasmatic reticulum of human embryonic kidney cells. Furthermore, the D544E polymorphism resulted in significantly reduced serum ceruloplasmin levels and ferroxidase activity in heteroallelic patients and in expression of mainly apo-ceruloplasmin in cell culture. Our studies indicate that altered activity of ceruloplasmin may present a vulnerability factor for iron induced oxidative stress in PD. [less ▲]

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