Mapping of a N-terminal α-helix domain required for human PINK1 stabilization, Serine228 autophosphorylation and activation in cells

Poonam Kakade, Hina Ojha, Olawale G Raimi, Andrew Shaw, Andrew D Waddell, James R. Ault, Sophie Burel, Kathrin Brockmann, Atul Kumar, Mohd Syed Ahangar, Ewelina M. Krysztofinska, Thomas Macartney, Richard Bayliss, Julia C. Fitzgerald, Miratul M K Muqit (Lead / Corresponding author)

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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Autosomal recessive mutations in the PINK1 gene are causal for Parkinson's disease (PD). PINK1 encodes a mitochondrial localized protein kinase that is a master-regulator of mitochondrial quality control pathways. Structural studies to date have elaborated the mechanism of how mutations located within the kinase domain disrupt PINK1 function; however, the molecular mechanism of PINK1 mutations located upstream and downstream of the kinase domain is unknown. We have employed mutagenesis studies to define the minimal region of human PINK1 required for optimal ubiquitin phosphorylation, beginning at residue Ile111. Inspection of the AlphaFold human PINK1 structure model predicts a conserved N-terminal α-helical extension (NTE) domain forming an intramolecular interaction with the C-terminal extension (CTE), which we corroborate using hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry of recombinant insect PINK1 protein. Cell-based analysis of human PINK1 reveals that PD-associated mutations (e.g. Q126P), located within the NTE : CTE interface, markedly inhibit stabilization of PINK1; autophosphorylation at Serine228 (Ser228) and Ubiquitin Serine65 (Ser65) phosphorylation. Furthermore, we provide evidence that NTE and CTE domain mutants disrupt PINK1 stabilization at the mitochondrial Translocase of outer membrane complex. The clinical relevance of our findings is supported by the demonstration of defective stabilization and activation of endogenous PINK1 in human fibroblasts of a patient with early-onset PD due to homozygous PINK1 Q126P mutations. Overall, we define a functional role of the NTE : CTE interface towards PINK1 stabilization and activation and show that loss of NTE : CTE interactions is a major mechanism of PINK1-associated mutations linked to PD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number210264
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • mitochondria
  • phosphorylation
  • translocase
  • Parkinson's disease
  • kinase
  • PINK1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology


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