Mitochondrial dynamics and Parkinson's disease: focus on parkin.
SIGNIFICANCE: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disease affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Despite intensive efforts devoted to drug discovery, the disease remains incurable. To provide more effective medical therapy for PD, better understanding of the underlying causes of the disease is clearly necessary. RECENT ADVANCES: A broad range of studies conducted over the past few decades have collectively implicated aberrant mitochondrial homeostasis as a key contributor to the development of PD. Supporting this, mutations in several PD-linked genes are directly or indirectly linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. In particular, recent discoveries have identified parkin, whose mutations are causative of recessive parkinsonism, as a key regulator of mitochondrial homeostasis. CRITICAL ISSUES: Parkin appears to be involved in the entire spectrum of mitochondrial dynamics, including organelle biogenesis, fusion/fission, and clearance via mitophagy. How a single protein can regulate such diverse mitochondrial events is as intriguing as it is amazing; the mechanism underlying this is currently under intense research. Here, we provide an overview of mitochondrial dynamics and its relationship with neurodegenerative diseases and discuss current evidence and controversies surrounding the role of parkin in mitochondrial quality control and its relevance to PD pathogenesis. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: Although the emerging field of parkin-mediated mitochondrial quality control has proven to be exciting, it is important to recognize that PD pathogenesis is likely to involve an intricate network of interacting pathways. Elucidating the reciprocity of pathways, particularly how other PD-related pathways potentially influence mitochondrial homeostasis, may hold the key to therapeutic development.
Lim, K-L; Ng, X-H; Grace, LG-Y; Yao, T-P
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