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

Miratul Muqit, Poonam Kakade, Hina Ojha, Olawale Raimi, Andrew Shaw, Andrew Waddell, James R. Ault, Sophie Burel, Kathrin Brockmann, Atul Kumar, Mohd Syed Ahangar, Ewelina M. Krysztofinska, Thomas Macartney, Richard Bayliss, Julia C Fitzgerald

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Human autosomal recessive mutations in the PINK1 gene are causal for Parkinson’s disease (PD). PINK1 encodes a mitochondrial localised 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 are unknown. We have employed mutagenesis studies of human PINK1 in cells to define the minimal region of PINK1, required for optimal ubiquitin phosphorylation, beginning at residue Ile111. Bioinformatic analysis of the region spanning Ile111 to the kinase domain and inspection of the AlphaFold human PINK1 structure model predicts a conserved N-terminal α-helical domain extension (NTE domain) within this region corroborated by hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) of recombinant insect PINK1 protein. The AlphaFold structure also predicts the NTE domain forms an intramolecular interaction with the C-terminal extension (CTE). 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 domain mutants do not affect intrinsic catalytic kinase activity but do disrupt PINK1 stabilisation at the mitochondrial Translocase of outer membrane (TOM) 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 stabilisation and activation and show that loss of NTE:CTE interactions is a major mechanism of PINK1-associated mutations linked to PD.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCold Spring Harbor
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2021


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