PINK1 Is Dispensable for Mitochondrial Recruitment of Parkin and Activation of Mitophagy in Cardiac Myocytes

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 25;10(6):e0130707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130707. eCollection 2015.


Myocyte function and survival relies on the maintenance of a healthy population of mitochondria. The PINK1/Parkin pathway plays an important role in clearing defective mitochondria via autophagy in cells. However, how the PINK1/Parkin pathway regulates mitochondrial quality control and whether it coordinates with other mitophagy pathways are still unclear. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of PINK1-deficiency on mitochondrial quality control in myocytes. Using PINK1-deficient (PINK1-/-) mice, we found that Parkin is recruited to damaged cardiac mitochondria in hearts after treatment with the mitochondrial uncoupler FCCP or after a myocardial infarction even in the absence of PINK1. Parkin recruitment to depolarized mitochondria correlates with increased ubiquitination of mitochondrial proteins and activation of mitophagy in PINK1-/- myocytes. In addition, induction of mitophagy by the atypical BH3-only protein BNIP3 is unaffected by lack of PINK1. Overall, these data suggest that Parkin recruitment to depolarized cardiac mitochondria and subsequent activation of mitophagy is independent of PINK1. Moreover, alternative mechanisms of Parkin activation and pathways of mitophagy remain functional in PINK1-/- myocytes and could compensate for the PINK1 deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitophagy / genetics*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • BNip3 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein
  • Protein Kinases
  • PTEN-induced putative kinase