AMP kinase activation mitigates dopaminergic dysfunction and mitochondrial abnormalities in Drosophila models of Parkinson's disease.
Mutations in parkin and LRRK2 together account for the majority of familial Parkinson's disease (PD) cases. Interestingly, recent evidence implicates the involvement of parkin and LRRK2 in mitochondrial homeostasis. Supporting this, we show here by means of the Drosophila model system that, like parkin, LRRK2 mutations induce mitochondrial pathology in flies when expressed in their flight muscles, the toxic effects of which can be rescued by parkin coexpression. When expressed specifically in fly dopaminergic neurons, mutant LRRK2 results in the appearance of significantly enlarged mitochondria, a phenotype that can also be rescued by parkin coexpression. Importantly, we also identified in this study that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a green tea-derived catechin, acts as a potent suppressor of dopaminergic and mitochondrial dysfunction in both mutant LRRK2 and parkin-null flies. Notably, the protective effects of EGCG are abolished when AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is genetically inactivated, suggesting that EGCG-mediated neuroprotection requires AMPK. Consistent with this, direct pharmacological or genetic activation of AMPK reproduces EGCG's protective effects. Conversely, loss of AMPK activity exacerbates neuronal loss and associated phenotypes in parkin and LRRK mutant flies. Together, our results suggest the relevance of mitochondrial-associated pathway in LRRK2 and parkin-related pathogenesis, and that AMPK activation may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for these familial forms of PD.
Ng, C-H; Guan, MSH; Koh, C; Ouyang, X; Yu, F; Tan, E-K; O'Neill, SP; Zhang, X; Chung, J; Lim, K-L
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