Author(s): Kahle PJ, Waak J, Gasser T
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Abstract Mutations in the PARK7/DJ-1 gene are rare causes of autosomal-recessive hereditary Parkinson's disease. Loss-of-function mutations lead to the characteristic selective neurodegeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, which accounts for parkinsonian symptoms. Originally identified as an oncogene, DJ-1 is a ubiquitous redox-responsive cytoprotective protein with diverse functions. In addition to cell-autonomous neuroprotective roles, DJ-1 may act in a transcellular manner, being up-regulated in reactive astrocytes in chronic neurodegenerative diseases as well as in stroke. Thus, DJ-1, particularly in its oxidized form, has been recognized as a biomarker for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The crystal structure of DJ-1 has been solved, allowing detailed investigations of the redox-reactive center of DJ-1. Structure-function studies revealed that DJ-1 may become activated in the presence of reactive oxygen species, under conditions of oxidative stress, but also as part of physiological receptor-mediated signal transduction. DJ-1 regulates redox signaling kinase pathways and acts as a transcriptional regulator of antioxidative gene batteries. Therefore, DJ-1 is an important redox-reactive signaling intermediate controlling oxidative stress after ischemia, upon neuroinflammation, and during age-related neurodegenerative processes. Augmenting DJ-1 activity might provide novel approaches to treating chronic neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's disease and acute damage such as stroke.
This article was published in Free Radic Biol Med
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism