DJ-1 mediates paraquat-induced dopaminergic neuronal cell death

Hyun Joo Kwon, Jun Young Heo, Jung Hee Shim, Ji Hoon Park, Kang Sik Seo, Min Jeong Ryu, Jeong Su Han, Minho Shong, Jin H Son, Gi Ryang Kweon
Toxicology Letters 2011 April 25, 202 (2): 85-92
There are two causes of Parkinson's disease (PD): environmental insults and genetic mutations of PD-associated genes. Environmental insults and genetic mutations lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, and a combination of mitochondrial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress in dopaminergic neurons is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of PD. Among the PD-associated genes, DJ-1 acts as a redox sensor for oxidative stress and has been also proposed to maintain mitochondrial complex I activity. To understand molecular functions of DJ-1 in the cell, we have generated DJ-1 null cells from the DJ-1(-/-) mouse embryos. Using these null cells, we investigated the susceptibility to an environmental toxin, paraquat, which is known to inhibit mitochondrial complex I. Interestingly, we found that DJ-1 null cells showed a resistance to paraquat-induced apoptosis, including reduced poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and procaspase-3. Also DJ-1 null cells generated less superoxide than SN4741 cells by paraquat treatment. Consistent with the reduced paraquat sensitivity, DJ-1 null cells showed reduced complex I activity, which was partially rescued by ectopic DJ-I expression. In summary, our results suggest that DJ-1 is critical to maintain mitochondrial complex I and complex I could be a key target in interaction of paraquat toxicity and DJ-1 for giving rise to PD.

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