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Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Oct 1;19(19):3771-81. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq292. Epub 2010 Jul 19.

Interaction between parkin and mutant glucocerebrosidase variants: a possible link between Parkinson disease and Gaucher disease.

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  • 1Department of Cell Research and Immunology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.


Gaucher disease (GD), a sphingolipidosis characterized by impaired activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GCase), results from mutations in the GCase-encoding gene, GBA. We have shown that mutant GCase variants present variable degrees of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention and undergo ER-associated degradation (ERAD) in the proteasome. Furthermore, the degree of ERAD of mutant GCase variants correlates with and is one of the factors that determine GD severity. An association between GD and Parkinson disease (PD) has been demonstrated by the concurrence of PD in GD patients and the identification of GCase mutations in probands with sporadic PD. One of the genes involved in PD is PARK2, encoding the E3 ubiquitin ligase parkin. Parkin functions in the ERAD of misfolded ER proteins, and it is upregulated by unfolded protein response. Loss of parkin function leads to the accumulation of its substrates, which is deleterious to dopaminergic neurons in PD. We, therefore, tested the possibility that the association between GD and PD reflects the fact that parkin acts as an E3 ligase of mutant GCase variants. Our results showed that mutant GCase variants associate with parkin. Normal parkin, but not its RING finger mutants, affects the stability of mutant GCase variants. Parkin also promotes the accumulation of mutant GCase in aggresome-like structures and is involved in K48-mediated polyubiquitination of GCase mutants, indicating its function as its E3 ligase. We suggest that involvement of parkin in the degradation of mutant GCase explains the concurrence of GD and PD.

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