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J Biol Chem. 2009 May 15;284(20):13843-55. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M808515200. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Loss of PINK1 function promotes mitophagy through effects on oxidative stress and mitochondrial fission.

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Department of Pathology and Center for Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Mitochondrial dysregulation is strongly implicated in Parkinson disease. Mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) are associated with familial parkinsonism and neuropsychiatric disorders. Although overexpressed PINK1 is neuroprotective, less is known about neuronal responses to loss of PINK1 function. We found that stable knockdown of PINK1 induced mitochondrial fragmentation and autophagy in SH-SY5Y cells, which was reversed by the reintroduction of an RNA interference (RNAi)-resistant plasmid for PINK1. Moreover, stable or transient overexpression of wild-type PINK1 increased mitochondrial interconnectivity and suppressed toxin-induced autophagy/mitophagy. Mitochondrial oxidant production played an essential role in triggering mitochondrial fragmentation and autophagy in PINK1 shRNA lines. Autophagy/mitophagy served a protective role in limiting cell death, and overexpressing Parkin further enhanced this protective mitophagic response. The dominant negative Drp1 mutant inhibited both fission and mitophagy in PINK1-deficient cells. Interestingly, RNAi knockdown of autophagy proteins Atg7 and LC3/Atg8 also decreased mitochondrial fragmentation without affecting oxidative stress, suggesting active involvement of autophagy in morphologic remodeling of mitochondria for clearance. To summarize, loss of PINK1 function elicits oxidative stress and mitochondrial turnover coordinated by the autophagic and fission/fusion machineries. Furthermore, PINK1 and Parkin may cooperate through different mechanisms to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis.

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