Drosophila DJ-1 mutants are sensitive to oxidative stress and show reduced lifespan and motor deficits

Gene. 2007 Oct 1;400(1-2):158-65. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2007.06.013. Epub 2007 Jun 29.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive movement disorder caused by the selective and massive loss of dopaminergic neurons (DA) in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). DJ-1 loss-of-function mutations are involved in inherited early-onset PD forms and result in dysfunction of the oxidative stress response. In mice models, DJ-1 loss provokes sensitivity to oxidative insults but does not produce neurodegeneration. Similar results have been found when analyzing Drosophila mutants for the DJ-1 orthologous genes, DJ-1alpha and DJ-1beta. Here, we report the analysis of two new mutations for the Drosophila DJ-1 genes. Both ubiquitous induction of DJ-1alpha knockdown by RNAi and loss of function of DJ-1beta caused by an insertional mutation result in increased sensitivity to paraquat insults, reduced lifespan and motor impairments. However these mutations do not lead to DA neuron loss. Besides, we find that targeted inhibition of DJ-1alpha function in DA neuron results in certain DA neurodegeneration. Our results, together with findings in other Drosophila DJ-1 mutants, indicate that both Drosophila DJ-1 genes are implicated in the protection against the chemical induced oxidative stress response, but also in fly survival. The differences observed in DA neurodegeneration suggest that the motor impairments exhibited by the mutants could be caused by different pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Protein Deglycase DJ-1
  • RNA Interference


  • DJ-1alpha protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • dj protein, Drosophila
  • DJ-1beta protein, Drosophila
  • Protein Deglycase DJ-1
  • Dopamine