Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 8;104(19):8161-6. Epub 2007 May 2.

Two molecular pathways initiate mitochondria-dependent dopaminergic neurodegeneration in experimental Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • 1Research Institute-University Hospital Vall d'Hebron, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.


Dysfunction of mitochondrial complex I is associated with a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). In rodents, inhibition of complex I leads to degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), as seen in PD, through activation of mitochondria-dependent apoptotic molecular pathways. In this scenario, complex I blockade increases the soluble pool of cytochrome c in the mitochondrial intermembrane space through oxidative mechanisms, whereas activation of pro-cell death protein Bax is actually necessary to trigger neuronal death by permeabilizing the outer mitochondrial membrane and releasing cytochrome c into the cytosol. Activation of Bax after complex I inhibition relies on its transcriptional induction and translocation to the mitochondria. How complex I deficiency leads to Bax activation is currently unknown. Using gene-targeted mice, we show that the tumor suppressor p53 mediates Bax transcriptional induction after PD-related complex I blockade in vivo, but it does not participate in Bax mitochondrial translocation in this model, either by a transcription-independent mechanism or through the induction of BH3-only proteins Puma or Noxa. Instead, Bax mitochondrial translocation in this model relies mainly on the JNK-dependent activation of the BH3-only protein Bim. Targeting either Bax transcriptional induction or Bax mitochondrial translocation results in a marked attenuation of SNpc dopaminergic cell death caused by complex I inhibition. These results provide further insight into the pathogenesis of PD neurodegeneration and identify molecular targets of potential therapeutic significance for this disabling neurological illness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk