PRKN-regulated mitophagy and cellular senescence during COPD pathogenesis

Autophagy. 2019 Mar;15(3):510-526. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2018.1532259. Epub 2018 Oct 13.


Cigarette smoke (CS)-induced accumulation of mitochondrial damage has been widely implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis. Mitophagy plays a crucial role in eliminating damaged mitochondria, and is governed by the PINK1 (PTEN induced putative protein kinase 1)-PRKN (parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase) pathway. Although both increased PINK1 and reduced PRKN have been implicated in COPD pathogenesis in association with mitophagy, there are conflicting reports for the role of mitophagy in COPD progression. To clarify the involvement of PRKN-regulated mitophagy in COPD pathogenesis, prkn knockout (KO) mouse models were used. To illuminate how PINK1 and PRKN regulate mitophagy in relation to CS-induced mitochondrial damage and cellular senescence, overexpression and knockdown experiments were performed in airway epithelial cells (AEC). In comparison to wild-type mice, prkn KO mice demonstrated enhanced airway wall thickening with emphysematous changes following CS exposure. AEC in CS-exposed prkn KO mice showed accumulation of damaged mitochondria and increased oxidative modifications accompanied by accelerated cellular senescence. In vitro experiments showed PRKN overexpression was sufficient to induce mitophagy during CSE exposure even in the setting of reduced PINK1 protein levels, resulting in attenuation of mitochondrial ROS production and cellular senescence. Conversely PINK1 overexpression failed to recover impaired mitophagy caused by PRKN knockdown, indicating that PRKN protein levels can be the rate-limiting factor in PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitophagy during CSE exposure. These results suggest that PRKN levels may play a pivotal role in COPD pathogenesis by regulating mitophagy, suggesting that PRKN induction could mitigate the progression of COPD. Abbreviations: AD: Alzheimer disease; AEC: airway epithelial cells; BALF: bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; AKT: AKT serine/threonine kinase; CALCOCO2/NDP52: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2; CDKN1A: cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1A; CDKN2A: cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 2A; COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CS: cigarette smoke; CSE: CS extract; CXCL1: C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 1; CXCL8: C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 8; HBEC: human bronchial epithelial cells; 4-HNE: 4-hydroxynonenal; IL: interleukin; KO: knockout; LF: lung fibroblasts; LPS: lipopolysaccharide; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; 8-OHdG: 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine; OPTN: optineurin; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; PCD: programmed cell death; PFD: pirfenidone; PIK3C: phosphatidylinositol-4:5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit; PINK1: PTEN induced putative kinase 1; PTEN: phosphatase and tensin homolog; RA: rheumatoid arthritis; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SA-GLB1/β-Gal: senescence-associated-galactosidase, beta 1; SASP: senescence-associated secretory phenotype; SNP: single nucleotide polymorphism; TNF: tumor necrosis factor.

Keywords: COPD; Cellular senescence; PINK1; PRKN; mitophagy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cellular Senescence* / drug effects
  • Cellular Senescence* / genetics
  • Cigarette Smoking / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Mitophagy* / drug effects
  • Mitophagy* / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / genetics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Pyridones / pharmacology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • CALCOCO2 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • OPTN protein, human
  • Pyridones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • pirfenidone
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein
  • Protein Kinases
  • PTEN-induced putative kinase
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Pten protein, mouse

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grants from JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP15K09231 to J.A., 15K09233 to K. Nakayama, and JP15K09232 to K.Kuwano.