, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 163-174

Linking DJ-1 to neurodegeneration offers novel insights for understanding the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease

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Abstract

Rare monogenic forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are promoting our understanding of the molecular pathways involved in the common, non-Mendelian forms of the disease. Here, we focus on PARK7, an autosomal recessive form of early-onset parkinsonism caused by mutations in the DJ-1 gene. We first review the genetics of this form and the rapidly expanding knowledge about the structure and biochemical properties of the DJ-1 protein. We also discuss how DJ-1 dysfunction might lead to neurodegeneration, and the implications of this novel piece of information for the pathogenesis of the common PD forms. Although much work remains to be done to clarify the biology of DJ-1, its proposed activity as a molecular chaperone and/or as oxidative sensor appear intriguing in the light of the current theories on the pathogenesis of PD.