A novel in vivo post-translational modification of p53 by PARP-1 in MPTP-induced parkinsonism

Allen S. Mandir, Cynthia M. Simbulan-Rosenthal, Marc F. Poitras, John R. Lumpkin, Valina L. Dawson, Mark E. Smulson, Ted M. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) affects primarily dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. There is evidence of necrotic and apoptotic neuronal death in PD, but the mechanisms behind selected dopaminergic neuronal death remain unknown. The tumor suppressor protein p53 functions to selectively destroy stressed or abnormal cells during life and development by means of necrosis and apoptosis. Activation of p53 leads to death in a variety of cells including neurons. p53 is a target of the nuclear enzyme Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP), and PARP is activated following DNA damage that occurs following 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced neurotoxicity. MPTP is the favored in vivo model of PD, and reproduces the pathophysiology, anatomy and biochemistry of PD. p53 protein normally exhibits a fleeting half-life, and regulation of p53 stability and activation is achieved mainly by post-translational modification. We find that p53 is heavily poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated by PARP-1 following MPTP intoxication. This post-translational modification serves to stabilize p53 and alters its transactivation of downstream genes. These influences of PARP-1 on p53 may underlie the mechanisms of MPTP-induced parkinsonism and other models of neuronal death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • MPTP
  • PARP-1
  • Parkinson's disease
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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