Nitric oxide induction of Parkin translocation in PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) deficiency: functional role of neuronal nitric oxide synthase during mitophagy

J Biol Chem. 2015 Apr 17;290(16):10325-35. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.624767. Epub 2015 Feb 25.


The failure to trigger mitophagy is implicated in the pathogenesis of familial Parkinson disease that is caused by PINK1 or Parkin mutations. According to the prevailing PINK1-Parkin signaling model, mitophagy is promoted by the mitochondrial translocation of Parkin, an essential PINK1-dependent step that occurs via a previously unknown mechanism. Here we determined that critical concentrations of NO was sufficient to induce the mitochondrial translocation of Parkin even in PINK1 deficiency, with apparent increased interaction of full-length PINK1 accumulated during mitophagy, with neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). Specifically, optimum levels of NO enabled PINK1-null dopaminergic neuronal cells to regain the mitochondrial translocation of Parkin, which appeared to be significantly suppressed by nNOS-null mutation. Moreover, nNOS-null mutation resulted in the same mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) enzyme deficits as PINK1-null mutation. The involvement of mitochondrial nNOS activation in mitophagy was further confirmed by the greatly increased interactions of full-length PINK1 with nNOS, accompanied by mitochondrial accumulation of phospho-nNOS (Ser(1412)) during mitophagy. Of great interest is that the L347P PINK1 mutant failed to bind to nNOS. The loss of nNOS phosphorylation and Parkin accumulation on PINK1-deficient mitochondria could be reversed in a PINK1-dependent manner. Finally, non-toxic levels of NO treatment aided in the recovery of PINK1-null dopaminergic neuronal cells from mitochondrial ETC enzyme deficits. In summary, we demonstrated the full-length PINK1-dependent recruitment of nNOS, its activation in the induction of Parkin translocation, and the feasibility of NO-based pharmacotherapy for defective mitophagy and ETC enzyme deficits in Parkinson disease.

Keywords: Mitophagy; Nitric Oxide; PTEN-induced Putative Kinase 1 (PINK1); Parkin; Parkinson Disease; nNOS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / pathology
  • Electron Transport
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitophagy / genetics*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / deficiency
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Kinases / deficiency
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Nos1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein
  • Protein Kinases
  • PTEN-induced putative kinase