PINK1 Loss-of-Function Mutations Affect Mitochondrial Complex I Activity via NdufA10 Ubiquinone Uncoupling

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 203-207
DOI: 10.1126/science.1249161

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In the PINK1

Pathogenic mutations in the kinase PINK1 are causally related to Parkinson's disease (PD). One hypothesis proposes that PINK1 regulates mitophagy—the clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria. A second hypothesis suggests that PINK1 has a direct effect on mitochondrial complex I, affecting the maintenance of the electron transport chain (ETC) resulting in decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and dysfunctional mitochondria. In support of the second hypothesis, Morais et al. (p. 203, published online 20 March) observed a complex I deficit in fibroblasts and neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from PINK1 patients before any mitophagy was induced. The phosphoproteome of complex I in liver and brain from mice deficient for Pink1, compared to wild-type animals, revealed that Ser250 in complex I subunit NdufA10 was differentially phosphorylated. Ser250 is critically involved in the reduction of ubiquinone by complex I, explaining why Pink1 knockout mice, flies, and patient cell lines show decreased mitochondrial membrane potential. Synaptic defects in pink1 null mutant Drosophila could be rescued using phosphomimetic NdufA10.


Under resting conditions, Pink1 knockout cells and cells derived from patients with PINK1 mutations display a loss of mitochondrial complex I reductive activity, causing a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential. Analyzing the phosphoproteome of complex I in liver and brain from Pink1−/− mice, we found specific loss of phosphorylation of serine-250 in complex I subunit NdufA10. Phosphorylation of serine-250 was needed for ubiquinone reduction by complex I. Phosphomimetic NdufA10 reversed Pink1 deficits in mouse knockout cells and rescued mitochondrial depolarization and synaptic transmission defects in pinkB9-null mutant Drosophila. Complex I deficits and adenosine triphosphate synthesis were also rescued in cells derived from PINK1 patients. Thus, this evolutionary conserved pathway may contribute to the pathogenic cascade that eventually leads to Parkinson’s disease in patients with PINK1 mutations.

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