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Mol Cell. 2009 Dec 25;36(6):1034-47. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.11.021.

SH3 domains from a subset of BAR proteins define a Ubl-binding domain and implicate parkin in synaptic ubiquitination.

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Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Mutations in the parkin gene are responsible for a common inherited form of Parkinson's disease (PD). Parkin is a RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligase with an N-terminal ubiquitin-like domain (Ubl). We report here that the parkin Ubl binds SH3 domains from endocytic BAR proteins such as endophilin-A with an affinity comparable to proline-rich domains (PRDs) from well-established SH3 partners. The NMR structure of the Ubl-SH3 complex identifies the PaRK extension, a unique C-terminal motif in the parkin Ubl required for SH3 binding and for parkin-mediated ubiquitination of endophilin-A in vitro. In nerve terminals, conditions that promote phosphorylation enhance the interaction between parkin and endophilin-A and increase the levels of ubiquitinated proteins within PRD-associated synaptic protein complexes in wild-type but not parkin knockout brain. The findings identify a pathway for the recruitment of synaptic substrates to parkin with the potential to explain the defects in synaptic transmission observed in recessive forms of PD.

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