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Autophagy. 2011 Dec;7(12):1555-6.

Ambra1: a Parkin-binding protein involved in mitophagy.

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Department of Experimental Neurology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Mutations in the gene for the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin are the most prevalent cause of autosomal recessive Parkinson disease (PD), an incurable neurodegenerative disorder. Parkin surveys mitochondrial quality by translocating to depolarized mitochondria and inducing their selective macroautophagic removal (mitophagy). We recently reported that Parkin interacts with Ambra1 (activating molecule in Beclin 1-regulated autophagy), a protein that promotes autophagy in the vertebrate central nervous system. We discovered that prolonged mitochondrial depolarization strongly increases the interaction of Parkin with Ambra1. Ambra1 is recruited in a Parkin-dependent manner to perinuclear clusters of depolarized mitochondria, activates the class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns3K) complex around these mitochondria and contributes to their selective autophagic clearance. Here, we discuss these findings and suggest a model where translocated Parkin efficiently triggers mitophagy through combined recruitment of Ambra1 and ubiquitination of outer mitochondrial membrane proteins.

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