Synaptojanin 1 (SJ1) is a major presynaptic phosphatase that couples synaptic vesicle endocytosis to the dephosphorylation of PI(4,5)P2, a reaction needed for the shedding of endocytic factors from their membranes. While the role of SJ1's 5-phosphatase module in this process is well recognized, the contribution of its Sac phosphatase domain, whose preferred substrate is PI4P, remains unclear. Recently a homozygous mutation in its Sac domain was identified in early-onset parkinsonism patients. We show that mice carrying this mutation developed neurological manifestations similar to those of human patients. Synapses of these mice displayed endocytic defects and a striking accumulation of clathrin-coated intermediates, strongly implicating Sac domain's activity in endocytic protein dynamics. Mutant brains had elevated auxilin (PARK19) and parkin (PARK2) levels. Moreover, dystrophic axonal terminal changes were selectively observed in dopaminergic axons in the dorsal striatum. These results strengthen evidence for a link between synaptic endocytic dysfunction and Parkinson's disease.
Keywords: LRRK2; PARK19; PARK2; PARK20; PI(4,5)P2; Parkin; auxilin; neurodegeneration; nigrostriatal pathway; synaptic vesicle endocytosis; synaptojanin 1.
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