Linking F-box protein 7 and parkin to neuronal degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD)

Mol Brain. 2016 Apr 18:9:41. doi: 10.1186/s13041-016-0218-2.


Mutations of F-box protein 7 (FBXO7) and Parkin, two proteins in ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), are both implicated in pathogenesis of dopamine (DA) neuron degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Parkin is a HECT/RING hybrid ligase that physically receives ubiquitin on its catalytic centre and passes ubiquitin onto its substrates, whereas FBXO7 is an adaptor protein in Skp-Cullin-F-box (SCF) SCF(FBXO7) ubiquitin E3 ligase complex to recognize substrates and mediate substrates ubiquitination by SCF(FBXO7) E3 ligase. Here, we discuss the overlapping pathophysiologic mechanisms and clinical features linking Parkin and FBXO7 with autosomal recessive PD. Both proteins play an important role in neuroprotective mitophagy to clear away impaired mitochondria. Parkin can be recruited to impaired mitochondria whereas cellular stress can promote FBXO7 mitochondrial translocation. PD-linked FBXO7 can recruit Parkin into damaged mitochondria and facilitate its aggregation. WT FBXO7, but not PD-linked FBXO7 mutants can rescue DA neuron degeneration in Parkin null Drosophila. A better understanding of the common pathophysiologic mechanisms of these two proteins could unravel specific pathways for targeted therapy in PD.

Keywords: FBXO7; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; Parkin; Parkinson’s disease; Protein aggregation; Proteotoxicity; Ubiquitin proteasome system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • F-Box Proteins / chemistry
  • F-Box Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / complications*
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • F-Box Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex