DJ-1 interactions with α-synuclein attenuate aggregation and cellular toxicity in models of Parkinson's disease


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the presence of Lewy bodies in surviving neurons. These intracellular protein inclusions are primarily composed of misfolded α-synuclein (aSyn), which has also been genetically linked to familial and sporadic forms of PD. DJ-1 is a small ubiquitously expressed protein implicated in several pathways associated with PD pathogenesis. Although mutations in the gene encoding DJ-1 lead to familial early-onset PD, the exact mechanisms responsible for its role in PD pathogenesis are still elusive. Previous work has found that DJ-1--which has protein chaperone-like activity--modulates aSyn aggregation. Here, we investigated possible physical interactions between aSyn and DJ-1 and any consequent functional and pathological relevance. We found that DJ-1 interacts directly with aSyn monomers and oligomers in vitro, and that this also occurs in living cells. Notably, several PD-causing mutations in DJ-1 constrain this interaction. In addition, we found that overexpression of DJ-1 reduces aSyn dimerization, whereas mutant forms of DJ-1 impair this process. Finally, we found that human DJ-1 as well as yeast orthologs of DJ-1 reversed aSyn-dependent cellular toxicity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Taken together, these data suggest that direct interactions between DJ-1 and aSyn constitute the basis for a neuroprotective mechanism and that familial mutations in DJ-1 may contribute to PD by disrupting these interactions.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: Cell Death and Disease is an open-access journal published by Nature Publishing Group. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals,Brain/metabolism,Cell Line,Humans,Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics,Mice,Mice, Inbred C57BL,Mutation,Oncogene Proteins/genetics,Parkinson Disease/genetics,Peroxiredoxins/genetics,Protein Aggregates,Protein Binding,Protein Deglycase DJ-1,alpha-Synuclein/chemistry
Publication ISSN: 2041-4889
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.nat ... es/cddis2014307 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2014-07-24
Accepted Date: 2014-06-13
Authors: Zondler, L
Miller-Fleming, L
Repici, M (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9420-528X)
Gonçalves, S
Tenreiro, S
Rosado-Ramos, R
Betzer, C
Straatman, K R
Jensen, P H
Giorgini, F
Outeiro, T F



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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