Basal activity of PINK1 and PRKN in cell models and rodent brain

Jens O. Watzlawik, Fabienne C. Fiesel, Gabriella Fiorino, Bernardo A. Bustillos, Zahra Baninameh, Briana N. Markham, Xu Hou, Caleb S. Hayes, Jenny M. Bredenberg, Nicholas W. Kurchaba, Dominika Fričová, Joanna Siuda, Zbigniew K. Wszolek, Sachiko Noda, Shigeto Sato, Nobutaka Hattori, Asheeta A. Prasad, Deniz Kirik, Howard S. Fox, Kelly L. StauchMatthew S. Goldberg, Wolfdieter Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ubiquitin kinase-ligase pair PINK1-PRKN recognizes and transiently labels damaged mitochondria with ubiquitin phosphorylated at Ser65 (p-S65-Ub) to mediate their selective degradation (mitophagy). Complete loss of PINK1 or PRKN function unequivocally leads to early-onset Parkinson disease, but it is debated whether impairments in mitophagy contribute to disease later in life. While the pathway has been extensively studied in cell culture upon acute and massive mitochondrial stress, basal levels of activation under endogenous conditions and especially in vivo in the brain remain undetermined. Using rodent samples, patient-derived cells, and isogenic neurons, we here identified age-dependent, brain region-, and cell type-specific effects and determined expression levels and extent of basal and maximal activation of PINK1 and PRKN. Our work highlights the importance of defining critical risk and therapeutically relevant levels of PINK1-PRKN signaling which will further improve diagnosis and prognosis and will lead to better stratification of patients for future clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurosciences

Free keywords

  • Mitophagy
  • parkin
  • Parkinson disease
  • PINK1
  • PRKN
  • ubiquitin


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