Dysregulated mitophagy has been linked to Parkinson’s disease (PD) due to the role of PINK1 in mediating depolarization-induced mitophagy in vitro. Elegant mouse reporters have revealed the pervasive nature of basal mitophagy in vivo, yet the role of PINK1 and tissue metabolic context remains unknown. Using mito-QC, we investigated the contribution of PINK1 to mitophagy in metabolically active tissues. We observed a high degree of mitophagy in neural cells, including PD-relevant mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons and microglia. In all tissues apart from pancreatic islets, loss of Pink1 did not influence basal mitophagy, despite disrupting depolarization-induced Parkin activation. Our findings provide the first in vivo evidence that PINK1 is detectable at basal levels and that basal mammalian mitophagy occurs independently of PINK1. This suggests multiple, yet to be discovered pathways orchestrate mammalian mitochondrial integrity in a contextdependent fashion, and this has profound implications for our molecular understanding of vertebrate mitophagy.
- Parkinson's disease