Age-associated insolubility of parkin in human midbrain is linked to redox balance and sequestration of reactive dopamine metabolites.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The mechanisms by which parkin protects the adult human brain from Parkinson disease remain incompletely understood. We hypothesized that parkin cysteines participate in redox reactions and that these are reflected in its posttranslational modifications. We found that in post mortem human brain, including in the Substantia nigra, parkin is largely insoluble after age 40 years; this transition is linked to its oxidation, such as at residues Cys95 and Cys253. In mice, oxidative stress induces posttranslational modifications of parkin cysteines that lower its solubility in vivo. Similarly, oxidation of recombinant parkin by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) promotes its insolubility and aggregate formation, and in exchange leads to the reduction of H2O2. This thiol-based redox activity is diminished by parkin point mutants, e.g., p.C431F and p.G328E. In prkn-null mice, H2O2 levels are increased under oxidative stress conditions, such as acutely by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine toxin exposure or chronically due to a second, genetic hit; H2O2 levels are also significantly increased in parkin-deficient human brain. In dopamine toxicity studies, wild-type parkin, but not disease-linked mutants, protects human dopaminergic cells, in part through lowering H2O2. Parkin also neutralizes reactive, electrophilic dopamine metabolites via adduct formation, which occurs foremost at the primate-specific residue Cys95. Further, wild-type but not p.C95A-mutant parkin augments melanin formation in vitro. By probing sections of adult, human midbrain from control individuals with epitope-mapped, monoclonal antibodies, we found specific and robust parkin reactivity that co-localizes with neuromelanin pigment, frequently within LAMP-3/CD63+ lysosomes. We conclude that oxidative modifications of parkin cysteines are associated with protective outcomes, which include the reduction of H2O2, conjugation of reactive dopamine metabolites, sequestration of radicals within insoluble aggregates, and increased melanin formation. The loss of these complementary redox effects may augment oxidative stress during ageing in dopamine-producing cells of mutant PRKN allele carriers, thereby enhancing the risk of Parkinson's-linked neurodegeneration.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tokarew, JM; El-Kodsi, DN; Lengacher, NA; Fehr, TK; Nguyen, AP; Shutinoski, B; O'Nuallain, B; Jin, M; Khan, JM; Ng, ACH; Li, J; Jiang, Q; Zhang, M; Wang, L; Sengupta, R; Barber, KR; Tran, A; Im, DS; Callaghan, S; Park, DS; Zandee, S; Dong, X; Scherzer, CR; Prat, A; Tsai, EC; Takanashi, M; Hattori, N; Chan, JA; Zecca, L; West, AB; Holmgren, A; Puente, L; Shaw, GS; Toth, G; Woulfe, JM; Taylor, P; Tomlinson, JJ; Schlossmacher, MG

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 141 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 725 - 754

PubMed ID

  • 33694021

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8043881

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-0533

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00401-021-02285-4


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany