Abstract: Neuronal homeostasis and survival critically depend on an efficient autophagy-lysosomal degradation pathway, especially since neurons cannot reduce the concentration of misfolded proteins and damaged organelles by cell division. While increasing evidence implicates lysosomal dysfunction in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, the molecular underpinnings of the role of lysosomes in neurodegeneration remain largely unknown. To this end, studies of neurodegenerative disorders caused by mutations in lysosomal proteins offer an opportunity to elucidate such mechanisms and potentially identify specific therapeutic targets. One of these disorders is Kufor-Rakeb syndrome, caused by mutations in the lysosomal protein ATP13A2/PARK9 and characterized by early-onset Parkinsonism, pyramidal degeneration and dementia. We found that loss of ATP13A2 function results in impaired lysosomal function and, consequently, accumulation of SNCA/α-synuclein and neurotoxicity. Our results suggest that targeting of ATP13A2 to lysosomes to enhance lysosomal function may result in neuroprotection in Kufor-Rakeb syndrome. From a broader perspective, these findings, together with other recent studies of lysosomal dysfunction in neurodegeneration, suggest that strategies to upregulate lysosomal function in neurons represent a promising therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative disorders.
M Usenovic, E Tresse, JR Mazzulli, JP Taylor, D Krainc. Deficiency of ATP13A2 leads to lysosomal dysfunction, α-synuclein accumulation, and neurotoxicity. J Neurosci 2012; 32: 4240 - 6
PMID: 22442086 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5575-11.2012