The Parkinson’s Disease-Associated Protein DJ-1 Protects Dictyostelium Cells from AMPK-Dependent Outcomes of Oxidative Stress
journal contributionposted on 06.09.2021, 05:57 by Suwei Chen, Sarah AnnesleySarah Annesley, Rasha AF Jasim, Paul FisherPaul Fisher
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In Dictyostelium discoideum, strains with mitochondrial dysfunction present consistent, AMPK-dependent phenotypes. This provides an opportunity to investigate if the loss of function of specific PD-associated genes produces cellular pathology by causing mitochondrial dysfunction with AMPK-mediated consequences. DJ-1 is a PD-associated, cytosolic protein with a conserved oxidizable cysteine residue that is important for the protein’s ability to protect cells from the pathological consequences of oxidative stress. Dictyostelium DJ-1 (encoded by the gene deeJ) is located in the cytosol from where it indirectly inhibits mitochondrial respiration and also exerts a positive, nonmitochondrial role in endocytosis (particularly phagocytosis). Its loss in unstressed cells impairs endocytosis and causes correspondingly slower growth, while also stimulating mitochondrial respiration. We report here that oxidative stress in Dictyostelium cells inhibits mitochondrial respiration and impairs phagocytosis in an AMPK-dependent manner. This adds to the separate impairment of phagocytosis caused by DJ-1 knockdown. Oxidative stress also combines with DJ-1 loss in an AMPK-dependent manner to impair or exacerbate defects in phototaxis, morphogenesis and growth. It thereby phenocopies mitochondrial dysfunction. These results support a model in which the oxidized but not the reduced form of DJ-1 inhibits AMPK in the cytosol, thereby protecting cells from the adverse consequences of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and the resulting AMPK hyperactivity.