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DJ-1 and prevention of oxidative stress in Parkinson's disease and other age-related disorders.

Department of Neurodegeneration, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University Clinics Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.27). 09/2009; 47(10):1354-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.08.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations in the PARK7/DJ-1 gene are rare causes of autosomal-recessive hereditary Parkinson's disease. Loss-of-function mutations lead to the characteristic selective neurodegeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, which accounts for parkinsonian symptoms. Originally identified as an oncogene, DJ-1 is a ubiquitous redox-responsive cytoprotective protein with diverse functions. In addition to cell-autonomous neuroprotective roles, DJ-1 may act in a transcellular manner, being up-regulated in reactive astrocytes in chronic neurodegenerative diseases as well as in stroke. Thus, DJ-1, particularly in its oxidized form, has been recognized as a biomarker for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The crystal structure of DJ-1 has been solved, allowing detailed investigations of the redox-reactive center of DJ-1. Structure-function studies revealed that DJ-1 may become activated in the presence of reactive oxygen species, under conditions of oxidative stress, but also as part of physiological receptor-mediated signal transduction. DJ-1 regulates redox signaling kinase pathways and acts as a transcriptional regulator of antioxidative gene batteries. Therefore, DJ-1 is an important redox-reactive signaling intermediate controlling oxidative stress after ischemia, upon neuroinflammation, and during age-related neurodegenerative processes. Augmenting DJ-1 activity might provide novel approaches to treating chronic neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's disease and acute damage such as stroke.

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