Author(s): Narendra D, Tanaka A, Suen DF, Youle RJ
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Abstract Loss-of-function mutations in Park2, the gene coding for the ubiquitin ligase Parkin, are a significant cause of early onset Parkinson's disease. Although the role of Parkin in neuron maintenance is unknown, recent work has linked Parkin to the regulation of mitochondria. Its loss is associated with swollen mitochondria and muscle degeneration in Drosophila melanogaster, as well as mitochondrial dysfunction and increased susceptibility to mitochondrial toxins in other species. Here, we show that Parkin is selectively recruited to dysfunctional mitochondria with low membrane potential in mammalian cells. After recruitment, Parkin mediates the engulfment of mitochondria by autophagosomes and the selective elimination of impaired mitochondria. These results show that Parkin promotes autophagy of damaged mitochondria and implicate a failure to eliminate dysfunctional mitochondria in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.
This article was published in J Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy