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Neuron. 2003 Mar 27;37(6):911-24.

Parkin suppresses dopaminergic neuron-selective neurotoxicity induced by Pael-R in Drosophila.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase that degrades proteins with aberrant conformations, is associated with autosomal recessive juvenile Parkinsonism (AR-JP). The molecular basis of selective neuronal death in AR-JP is unknown. Here we show in an organismal system that panneuronal expression of Parkin substrate Pael-R causes age-dependent selective degeneration of Drosophila dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Coexpression of Parkin degrades Pael-R and suppresses its toxicity, whereas interfering with endogenous Drosophila Parkin function promotes Pael-R accumulation and augments its toxicity. Furthermore, overexpression of Parkin can mitigate alpha-Synuclein-induced neuritic pathology and suppress its toxicity. Our study implicates Parkin as a central player in the molecular pathway of Parkinson's disease (PD) and suggests that manipulating Parkin expression may provide a novel avenue of PD therapy.

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