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See detailMutation analyses and association studies to assess the role of the presenilin-associated rhomboid-like gene in Parkinson's disease
Wüst, Richard; Maurer, Brigitte; Hauser, Kathrin et al

in Neurobiology of Aging (2016), 39

Presenilin-associated rhomboid-like (PARL), a serine protease located in the inner mitochondrial membrane, has been shown to genetically interact and process PTEN-induced putative kinase a protein known ... [more ▼]

Presenilin-associated rhomboid-like (PARL), a serine protease located in the inner mitochondrial membrane, has been shown to genetically interact and process PTEN-induced putative kinase a protein known for its critical role in mitochondrial homeostasis and early-onset forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The identification of a PD-associated variant in the PARL gene (p.Ser77Asn) led us to assess the relevance of PARL for PD pathogenesis using a mutation screening of the coding sequences and adjacent intronic sequences. We investigated 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs3792589, rs13091, and rs3732581), a synonymous base substitution (Leu79Leu) and the previously described p.Ser77Asn mutation, which were subsequently screened in more than 2000 patients and controls. Not detecting the p.Ser77Asn mutation in our cohort, nor a robust association between variations in the PARL gene and PD, the role of disease causing genetic variants in the PARL gene could not be further substantiated in our samples. Our findings indicate that PARL mutations are a rare cause of PD and genetic variants are neither strong nor common risk factors in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailLoss of DJ-1 impairs antioxidant response by altered glutamine and serine metabolism
Meiser, Johannes UL; Delcambre, Sylvie UL; Wegner, André UL et al

in Neurobiology of disease (2016), 89

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an ... [more ▼]

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an important function in cellular antioxidant responses, but its role in central metabolism of neurons is still elusive. We applied stable isotope assisted metabolic profiling to investigate the effect of a functional loss of DJ-1 and show that DJ-1 deficient neuronal cells exhibit decreased glutamine influx and reduced serine biosynthesis. By providing precursors for GSH synthesis, these two metabolic pathways are important contributors to cellular antioxidant response. Down-regulation of these pathways, as a result of loss of DJ-1 leads to an impaired antioxidant response. Furthermore, DJ-1 deficient mouse microglia showed a weak but constitutive pro-inflammatory activation. The combined effects of altered central metabolism and constitutive activation of glia cells raise the susceptibility of dopaminergic neurons towards degeneration in patients harboring mutated DJ-1. Our work reveals metabolic alterations leading to increased cellular instability and identifies potential new intervention points that can further be studied in the light of novel translational medicine approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailKnockdown of Hsc70-5/mortalin induces loss of synaptic mitochondria in a Drosophila Parkinson's disease model.
Zhu, Jun-Yi; Vereshchagina, Natalia; Sreekumar, Vrinda et al

in PloS one (2013), 8(12), 83714

Mortalin is an essential component of the molecular machinery that imports nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria, assists in their folding, and protects against damage upon accumulation of ... [more ▼]

Mortalin is an essential component of the molecular machinery that imports nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria, assists in their folding, and protects against damage upon accumulation of dysfunctional, unfolded proteins in aging mitochondria. Mortalin dysfunction associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) increases the vulnerability of cultured cells to proteolytic stress and leads to changes in mitochondrial function and morphology. To date, Drosophila melanogaster has been successfully used to investigate pathogenesis following the loss of several other PD-associated genes. We generated the first loss-of-Hsc70-5/mortalin-function Drosophila model. The reduction of Mortalin expression recapitulates some of the defects observed in the existing Drosophila PD-models, which include reduced ATP levels, abnormal wing posture, shortened life span, and reduced spontaneous locomotor and climbing ability. Dopaminergic neurons seem to be more sensitive to the loss of mortalin than other neuronal sub-types and non-neuronal tissues. The loss of synaptic mitochondria is an early pathological change that might cause later degenerative events. It precedes both behavioral abnormalities and structural changes at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of mortalin-knockdown larvae that exhibit increased mitochondrial fragmentation. Autophagy is concomitantly up-regulated, suggesting that mitochondria are degraded via mitophagy. Ex vivo data from human fibroblasts identifies increased mitophagy as an early pathological change that precedes apoptosis. Given the specificity of the observed defects, we are confident that the loss-of-mortalin model presented in this study will be useful for further dissection of the complex network of pathways that underlie the development of mitochondrial parkinsonism. [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 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 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 detailTranscranial ultrasound in different monogenetic subtypes of Parkinson's disease.
Schweitzer, Katherine J.; Brussel, Theresa; Leitner, Petra et al

in Journal of neurology (2007), 254(5), 613-6

Hyperechogenicity of the substantia nigra (SN) has been found to be a typical sign in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), prevalent in more than 90% of affected individuals. To see whether SN ... [more ▼]

Hyperechogenicity of the substantia nigra (SN) has been found to be a typical sign in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), prevalent in more than 90% of affected individuals. To see whether SN hyperechogenicity is also characteristic for monogenetically caused PD, we investigated PD patients with alpha-synuclein, LRRK2, parkin, PINK1 and DJ-1 mutations by transcranial sonography (TCS). In all these patients the area of SN echogenicity was significantly larger than in healthy controls, but smaller, than in idiopathic PD. As SN hyperechogenicity could be related to an increased iron content of the SN, these findings suggest that iron may play a less significant role in the pathogenesis of monogenetically caused compared to idiopathic PD. [less ▲]

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See detailNovel homozygous p.E64D mutation in DJ1 in early onset Parkinson disease (PARK7).
Hering, Robert; Strauss, Karsten M.; Tao, Xiao et al

in Human mutation (2004), 24(4), 321-9

Mutations in the parkin gene have been identified as a common cause of autosomal recessive inherited Parkinson disease (PD) associated with early disease manifestation. However, based on linkage data ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the parkin gene have been identified as a common cause of autosomal recessive inherited Parkinson disease (PD) associated with early disease manifestation. However, based on linkage data, mutations in other genes contribute to the genetic heterogeneity of early-onset PD (EOPD). Recently, two mutations in the DJ1 gene were described as a second cause of autosomal recessive EOPD (PARK7). Analyzing the PARK7/DJ1 gene in 104 EOPD patients, we identified a third mutation, c.192G>C (p.E64D), associated with EOPD in a patient of Turkish ancestry and characterized the functional significance of this amino acid substitution. In the patient, a substantial reduction of dopamine uptake transporter (DAT) binding was found in the striatum using [(18)F]FP-CIT and PET, indicating a serious loss of presynaptic dopaminergic afferents. His sister, homozygous for E64D, was clinically unaffected but showed reduced dopamine uptake when compared with a clinically unaffected brother, who is heterozygous for E64D. We demonstrate by crystallography that the E64D mutation does not alter the structure of the DJ1 protein, however we observe a tendency towards decreased levels of the mutant protein when overexpressed in HEK293 or COS7 cells. Using immunocytochemistry in contrast to the homogenous nuclear and cytoplasmic staining in HEK293 cells overexpressing wild-type DJ1, about 5% of the cells expressing E64D and up to 80% of the cells expressing the recently described L166P mutation displayed a predominant nuclear localization of the mutant DJ1 protein. [less ▲]

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See detailMutation analysis of the neurofilament M gene in Parkinson's disease.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Fischer, Christian; Schulte, Thorsten et al

in Neuroscience letters (2003), 351(2), 125-9

Neurofilament M, a major component of Lewy bodies, represents an interesting candidate in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We performed detailed mutation analyses of the NF-M gene in 322 ... [more ▼]

Neurofilament M, a major component of Lewy bodies, represents an interesting candidate in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We performed detailed mutation analyses of the NF-M gene in 322 familial and sporadic PD patients. Two polymorphisms (Ala475Thr and Gly697Arg) occurred at similar frequencies in PD patients and controls. A Pro725Gln substitution and a deletion of valine in position 829 were identified in two PD patients. These substitutions affect residues of the NF-M protein that are highly conserved among different species. None of our patients carried the Gly336Ser substitution, which has been described in familial PD. Our results argue against a major role of NF-M in PD. However, rare variants of the NF-M gene may act as susceptibility factors for PD and functional analyses of the identified variations are warranted to decipher possible mechanisms in neurodegeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailPolymorphisms in the interleukin-1 alpha and beta genes and the risk for Parkinson's disease.
Schulte, Thorsten; Schols, Ludger; Muller, Thomas et al

in Neuroscience letters (2002), 326(1), 70-2

Several lines of evidence indicate that immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Activated immunocompetent cells and inflammatory cytokines are present in ... [more ▼]

Several lines of evidence indicate that immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Activated immunocompetent cells and inflammatory cytokines are present in affected brain regions in patients with Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). For AD biochemical and pathological data are supported by genetic studies identifying risk alleles for polymorphisms in regulatory regions of the interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha-889) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta-511) gene, respectively. The partially overlapping pathology and inflammatory reaction pattern between AD and PD led us to investigate these polymorphisms in a large sample of 295 German PD patients and 270 healthy controls. We found T in position -511 in the IL-1 beta gene more frequent in patients compared to controls (chi(2)=4.44, P=0.034). For the IL-1 alpha-889 polymorphism no significant difference between patients and controls was observed. [less ▲]

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