Human SOD2 modification by dopamine quinones affects enzymatic activity by promoting its aggregation: possible implications for Parkinson's disease

PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038026. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are considered central in dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Oxidative stress occurs when the endogenous antioxidant systems are overcome by the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). A plausible source of oxidative stress, which could account for the selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, is the redox chemistry of dopamine (DA) and leads to the formation of ROS and reactive dopamine-quinones (DAQs). Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) is a mitochondrial enzyme that converts superoxide radicals to molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, providing a first line of defense against ROS. We investigated the possible interplay between DA and SOD2 in the pathogenesis of PD using enzymatic essays, site-specific mutagenesis, and optical and high-field-cw-EPR spectroscopies. Using radioactive DA, we demonstrated that SOD2 is a target of DAQs. Exposure to micromolar DAQ concentrations induces a loss of up to 50% of SOD2 enzymatic activity in a dose-dependent manner, which is correlated to the concomitant formation of protein aggregates, while the coordination geometry of the active site appears unaffected by DAQ modifications. Our findings support a model in which DAQ-mediated SOD2 inactivation increases mitochondrial ROS production, suggesting a link between oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalytic Domain
  • Dopamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Manganese / chemistry
  • Manganese / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / chemistry
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Manganese
  • dopamine quinone
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • superoxide dismutase 2
  • Dopamine