The role of mitochondria in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been investigated since the 1980s and is gaining attention with recent advances in PD genetics research. Mutations in PRKN and PTEN-Induced Putative Kinase 1 (PINK1) are well-established causes of autosomal recessive early-onset PD. Genetic and biochemical studies have revealed that PINK1 and Parkin proteins function together in the same biological pathway to govern mitochondrial quality control. These proteins have also been implicated in the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity and other mitochondrial functions. Additionally, structural studies on Parkin have delineated an activation mechanism and have identified druggable regions that are currently being explored by academic and industry groups. To de-risk therapeutic development for these genetic targets, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has deployed a strategic funding and enabling framework that brings together the research community to discuss important breakthroughs and challenges in research on PINK1-Parkin biology, supports collaborative initiatives to further our understanding within this field and develops high-quality research tools and assays that are widely available to all researchers. The Foundation's efforts are leading to significant advances in understanding of the underlying biology of these genes, proteins and pathways and in the development of Parkinson's therapies.
Keywords: PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson’s disease; antibodies; biomarkers; genetic; mitochondria; mitophagy; therapeutic development.