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Mitochondrial dysfunction in Drosophila PINK1 mutants is complemented by parkin


Autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism (AR-JP) is an early-onset form of Parkinson's disease characterized by motor disturbances and dopaminergic neurodegeneration1,2. To address its underlying molecular pathogenesis, we generated and characterized loss-of-function mutants of Drosophila PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1 )3, a novel AR-JP-linked gene4. Here, we show that PINK1 mutants exhibit indirect flight muscle and dopaminergic neuronal degeneration accompanied by locomotive defects. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy analysis and a rescue experiment with Drosophila Bcl-2 demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction accounts for the degenerative changes in all phenotypes of PINK1 mutants. Notably, we also found that PINK1 mutants share marked phenotypic similarities with parkin mutants. Transgenic expression of Parkin markedly ameliorated all PINK1 loss-of-function phenotypes, but not vice versa, suggesting that Parkin functions downstream of PINK1. Taken together, our genetic evidence clearly establishes that Parkin and PINK1 act in a common pathway in maintaining mitochondrial integrity and function in both muscles and dopaminergic neurons.

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Figure 1: Characterization of PINK1 mutants.
Figure 2: Mitochondrial defects in PINK1 mutants.
Figure 3: Dopaminergic neuronal degeneration in PINK1 mutants.
Figure 4: In vivo interaction between PINK1 and Parkin.

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We would like to thank H. Richardson, H. J. Bellen, A. Pilling, W. Saxton, T. Adachi-Yamada, E. N. Olson, S. Birman, S. Noselli, E. J. Rulifson and G. M. Rubin for fly stocks. We appreciate B. Graham for helping us to get the effective anti-TH antibodies. We also thank the Korea Basic Science Institute for the use of SEM and TEM electron microscopes. We also thank members of the Chung laboratory for discussions. J.C. is grateful to J. Blenis for his encouragement.

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Correspondence to Jongkyeong Chung.

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Park, J., Lee, S., Lee, S. et al. Mitochondrial dysfunction in Drosophila PINK1 mutants is complemented by parkin. Nature 441, 1157–1161 (2006).

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