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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 May 18;421(4):813-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.04.095. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Stimulation of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 activity by DJ-1 in SH-SY5Y cells.

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Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan.


Loss-of-functional mutation in the DJ-1 gene causes a subset of familial Parkinson's disease. The mechanism underlying DJ-1-related selective vulnerability in the dopaminergic pathway is, however, not known. Dopamine is synthesized by two enzymes and then packed into synaptic vesicles by vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2). In this study, we found that knockdown of DJ-1 expression reduced the levels of mRNA and protein of VMAT2, resulting in reduced VMAT2 activity. Co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down experiments revealed that DJ-1 directly bound to VMAT2, and DJ-1 was co-localized with VMAT2 in cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of wild-type DJ-1, but not that of L166P, M26I and C106S mutants of DJ-1, increased mRNA and protein levels of VMAT2 and VMAT2 activity. Since VMAT2 and a portion of DJ-1 are localized in the synaptic membrane, these results suggest that DJ-1, but not pathogenically mutated DJ-1, stimulates VMAT2 activity in the synapse by transactivation of the VMAT gene and by direct binding to VMAT2 and that cysteine 106 is necessary for the stimulating activity of DJ-1 toward VMAT2.

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