RNA binding activity of the recessive parkinsonism protein DJ-1 supports involvement in multiple cellular pathways

Marcel P. Van Der Brug, Jeff Blackinton, Jayanth Chandran, Ling Yang Hao, Ashish Lal, Krystyna Mazan-Mamczarz, Jennifer Martindale, Chengsong Xie, Rili Ahmad, Kelly J. Thomas, Alexandra Beilina, J. Raphael Gibbs, Jinhui Ding, Amanda J. Myers, Ming Zhan, Huaibin Cai, Nancy M. Bonini, Myriam Gorospe, Mark R. Cookson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a major neurodegenerative condition with several rare Mendelian forms. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial function have been implicated in the pathogenesis of PD but the molecular mechanisms involved in the degeneration of neurons remain unclear. DJ-1 mutations are one cause of recessive parkinsonism, but this gene is also reported to be involved in cancer by promoting Ras signaling and suppressing PTEN-induced apoptosis. The specific function of DJ-1 is unknown, although it is responsive to oxidative stress and may play a role in the maintenance of mitochondria. Here, we show, using four independent methods, that DJ-1 associates with RNA targets in cells and the brain, including mitochondrial genes, genes involved in glutathione metabolism, and members of the PTEN/PI3K cascade. Pathogenic recessive mutants are deficient in this activity. We show that DJ-1 is sufficient for RNA binding at nanomolar concentrations. Further, we show that DJ-1 binds RNA but dissociates after oxidative stress. These data implicate a single mechanism for the pleiotropic effects of DJ-1 in different model systems, namely that the protein binds multiple RNA targets in an oxidation-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10244-10249
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 22 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Oxidative stress
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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