Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Quality control of mitochondria as a defense against disease

Scientists from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada have discovered that two genes linked to hereditary Parkinson’s disease are involved in the early-stage quality control of mitochondria. The protective mechanism, which is reported in The EMBO Journal, removes damaged proteins that arise from oxidative stress from mitochondria.

“PINK1 and parkin, are implicated in selectively targeting dysfunctional components of mitochondria to the lysosome under conditions of excessive oxidative damage within the organelle,” said Edward Fon, Professor at the McGill Parkinson Program at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

“Our study reveals a quality control mechanism where vesicles bud off from mitochondria and proceed to the lysosome for degradation. This method is distinct from the degradation pathway for damaged whole mitochondria which has been known for some time. It is also an early response, proceeding on a timescale of hours instead of days.”

The deterioration of mechanisms designed to maintain the integrity and function of mitochondria throughout the lifetime of a cell has been suggested to underlie the progression of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. When mitochondria, the “power plants” of the cell that provide energy, malfunction they can contribute to Parkinson’s disease. If they are to survive and function mitochondria need to degrade oxidized and damaged proteins.

In the study, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy were used to observe how the vesicles “pinch off” from mitochondria with their damaged cargo. “Our conclusion is that the loss of this PINK1 and parkin-dependent trafficking system impairs the ability of mitochondria to selectively degrade oxidized and damaged proteins and leads, over time, to the mitochondrial dysfunction noted in hereditary Parkinson’s disease,” said Heidi McBride, Professor in the Neuromuscular Group in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

Both salvage pathways are operational in the cell. If the vesicular pathway, the first line of defense, is overwhelmed and the damage is irreversible then the entire organelle is targeted for degradation.

Parkin and PINK1 function in a vesicular trafficking pathway regulating mitochondrial quality control
Gian-Luca McLelland, Vincent Soubannier, Carol X Chen, Heidi M. McBride, Edward A. Fon
Read the paper:
doi: 10.1002/embj.201385902
Further information on The EMBO Journal is available at
Media Contacts
Barry Whyte
Head | Public Relations and Communications

Andrea Leibfried
Editor, The EMBO Journal
Tel: +49 6221 8891 417

About EMBO
EMBO is an organization of more than 1600 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

Barry Whyte | EMBO Communications
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>