Elucidating the functional interplay between Parkinson’s disease-related proteins and the mitochondrion

Abstract : Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder of unknown etiology, affecting nearly 5% of the world population over the age of 80. Nearly 10% of PD cases are familial forms with Mendelian inheritance pattern. Mitochondrial dysfunction has long been suspected to play a role in the physiopathology of sporadic PD. This possibility has been recently corroborated by major discoveries in the field of autosomal recessive PD. Parkin and PINK1, the products of two genes associated with these forms, participate in a common molecular pathway focused on maintenance of mitochondrial quality, with roles in mitochondrial transport, dynamics, biogenesis and clearance.The aim of this work was to elucidate some of the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis by Parkin and PINK1. We used a combination of approaches in molecular and cell biology, biochemistry and confocal microscopy to identify and characterize molecular interactors of Parkin and PINK1 on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM).In the first part of my project, we discovered that Parkin and PINK1 associate on dysfunctional mitochondria in proximity of the translocase of the OMM (TOM), a complex devoted to the mitochondrial import of the vast majority of the mitochondrial proteins. We provided evidence that these associations play a key role in activation of the mitochondrial degradation program mediated by the PINK1/Parkin pathway. We also observed that the dynamin-related GTPase Drp1, involved in mitochondrial fission is recruited to defective mitochondria in proximity of Parkin and PINK1, suggesting that mitochondrial fission occurs at sites where mitochondrial clearance is initiated.In the second part of my project, we characterized the functional interaction between Parkin and the multifunctional neuroprotective mitochondrial matrix enzyme 17B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 10 (HSD17B10), previously found by the team to be altered in abundance in Parkin-deficient mice. We demonstrated that HSD17B10 exerts a mitochondrion-protective function independent of its enzymatic activity. In addition, we provided evidence that Parkin directly interacts with HSD17B10 at the TOM machinery and that it positively regulates its mitochondrial levels, possibly through the regulation of its mitochondrial import.Altogether, these results provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms by which Parkin and PINK1 control mitochondrial quality, and deepen our understanding of the role of these proteins in the physiopathology of autosomal recessive PD.
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Giulia Bertolin. Elucidating the functional interplay between Parkinson’s disease-related proteins and the mitochondrion. Human health and pathology. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA05T043⟩. ⟨tel-01249534⟩

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