Transcriptome analysis reveals link between proteasomal and mitochondrial pathways in Parkinson's disease

Neurogenetics. 2006 Jul;7(3):139-48. doi: 10.1007/s10048-006-0033-5. Epub 2006 May 13.


There is growing evidence that dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and failure of the cellular protein degradation machinery, specifically the ubiquitin-proteasome system, play an important role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. We now show that the corresponding pathways of these two systems are linked at the transcriptomic level in Parkinsonian substantia nigra. We examined gene expression in medial and lateral substantia nigra (SN) as well as in frontal cortex using whole genome DNA oligonucleotide microarrays. In this study, we use a hypothesis-driven approach in analysing microarray data to describe the expression of mitochondrial and ubiquitin-proteasomal system (UPS) genes in Parkinson's disease (PD). Although a number of genes showed up-regulation, we found an overall decrease in expression affecting the majority of mitochondrial and UPS sequences. The down-regulated genes include genes that encode subunits of complex I and the Parkinson's-disease-linked UCHL1. The observed changes in expression were very similar for both medial and lateral SN and also affected the PD cerebral cortex. As revealed by "gene shaving" clustering analysis, there was a very significant correlation between the transcriptomic profiles of both systems including in control brains. Therefore, the mitochondria and the proteasome form a higher-order gene regulatory network that is severely perturbed in Parkinson's disease. Our quantitative results also suggest that Parkinson's disease is a disease of more than one cell class, i.e. that it goes beyond the catecholaminergic neuron and involves glia as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • Ubiquitin
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex