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Zhuang, N., Li, L., Chen, S., Wang, T. (2016). PINK1-dependent phosphorylation of PINK1 and Parkin is essential for mitochondrial quality control.  Cell Death Dis. 7(12): e2501.
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Research paper

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to the pathogenesis of a large number of inherited diseases in humans, including Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. The Parkinson's disease genes pink1 and parkin, which encode a mitochondrially targeted protein kinase, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase, respectively, participate in a key mitochondrial quality-control pathway that eliminates damaged mitochondria. In the current study, we established an in vivo PINK1/Parkin-induced photoreceptor neuron degeneration model in Drosophila with the aim of dissecting the PINK1/Parkin pathway in detail. Using LC-MS/MS analysis, we identified Serine 346 as the sole autophosphorylation site of Drosophila PINK1 and found that substitution of Serine 346 to Alanine completely abolished the PINK1 autophosphorylation. Disruption of either PINK1 or Parkin phosphorylation impaired the PINK1/Parkin pathway, and the degeneration phenotype of photoreceptor neurons was obviously alleviated. Phosphorylation of PINK1 is not only required for the PINK1-mediated mitochondrial recruitment of Parkin but also induces its kinase activity toward Parkin. In contrast, phosphorylation of Parkin by PINK1 is dispensable for its translocation but required for its activation. Moreover, substitution with autophosphorylation-deficient PINK1 failed to rescue pink1 null mutant phenotypes. Taken together, our findings suggest that autophosphorylation of PINK1 is essential for the mitochondrial translocation of Parkin and for subsequent phosphorylation and activation of Parkin.

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PMC5261015 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Cell Death Dis.
    Cell death & disease
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