Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide, caused by the degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Mutations in PARK7 (DJ-1) result in early onset autosomal recessive PD, and oxidative modification of DJ-1 has been reported to regulate the protective activity of DJ-1 in vitro. Glutathionylation is a prevalent redox modification of proteins resulting from the disulfide adduction of the glutathione moiety to a reactive cysteine-SH, and glutathionylation of specific proteins has been implicated in regulation of cell viability. Glutaredoxin 1 (Grx1) is the principal deglutathionylating enzyme within cells, and it has been reported to mediate protection of dopaminergic neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans; however many of the functional downstream targets of Grx1 in vivo remain unknown. Previously, DJ-1 protein content was shown to decrease concomitantly with diminution of Grx1 protein content in cell culture of model neurons (SH-SY5Y and Neuro-2A lines). In the current study we aimed to investigate the regulation of DJ-1 by Grx1 in vivo and characterize its glutathionylation in vitro. Here, with Grx-/- mice we provide show that Grx1 regulates protein levels of DJ-1 in vivo. Furthermore, with model neuronal cells (SH-SY5Y) we observed decreased DJ-1 protein content in response to treatment with known glutathionylating agents, and with isolated DJ-1 we identified two distinct sites of glutathionylation. Finally, we found that overexpression of DJ-1 in the dopaminergic neurons partly compensates for the loss of the Grx1 homologue in a C. elegans in vivo model of PD. Therefore, our results reveal a novel redox modification of DJ-1 and suggest a novel regulatory mechanism for DJ-1 content in vivo.
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