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J Biol Chem. 2009 May 22;284(21):14245-57. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M806902200. Epub 2009 Mar 16.

Oxidizable residues mediating protein stability and cytoprotective interaction of DJ-1 with apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1.

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  • 1Laboratory of Functional Neurogenetics, Department of Neurodegeneration, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University Clinics Tübingen, Tübingen 72076, Germany.


Parkinson disease (PD)-associated genomic deletions and the destabilizing L166P point mutation lead to loss of the cytoprotective DJ-1 protein. The effects of other PD-associated point mutations are less clear. Here we demonstrate that the M26I mutation reduces DJ-1 expression, particularly in a null background (knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts). Thus, homozygous M26I mutation causes loss of DJ-1 protein. To determine the cellular consequences, we measured suppression of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and cytotoxicity for [M26I]DJ-1, and systematically all other DJ-1 methionine and cysteine mutants. C106A mutation of the central redox site specifically abolished binding to ASK1 and the cytoprotective activity of DJ-1. DJ-1 was apparently recruited into the ASK1 signalosome via Cys-106-linked mixed disulfides. The designed higher order oxidation mimicking [C106DD]DJ-1 non-covalently bound to ASK1 even in the absence of hydrogen peroxide and conferred partial cytoprotection. Interestingly, mutations of peripheral redox sites (C46A and C53A) and M26I also led to constitutive ASK1 binding. Cytoprotective [wt]DJ-1 bound to the ASK1 N terminus (which is known to bind another negative regulator, thioredoxin 1), whereas [M26I]DJ-1 bound to aberrant C-terminal site(s). Consequently, the peripheral cysteine mutants retained cytoprotective activity, whereas the PD-associated mutant [M26I]DJ-1 failed to suppress ASK1 activity and nuclear export of the death domain-associated protein Daxx and did not promote cytoprotection. Thus, cytoprotective binding of DJ-1 to ASK1 depends on the central redox-sensitive Cys-106 and may be modulated by peripheral cysteine residues. We suggest that impairments in oxidative conformation changes of DJ-1 might contribute to PD neurodegeneration.

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