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REVIEW: DJ-1 Protein and Its Role in the Development of Parkinson’s Disease: Studies on Experimental Models

Olga A. Buneeva1 and Alexey E. Medvedev1,a*

1Institute of Biomedical Chemistry, 119121 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 25, 2020; Revised February 25, 2021; Accepted March 12, 2021
DJ-1, also known as Parkinson’s disease protein 7, is a multifunctional protein ubiquitously expressed in cells and tissues. Interacting with proteins of various intracellular compartments, DJ-1 plays an important role in maintaining different cellular functions. Mutant DJ-1 forms containing amino acid substitutions (especially L166P), typical of Parkinson’s disease, are characterized by impaired dimerization, stability, and folding. DJ-1 exhibits several types of catalytic activity; however, in the enzyme classification it exists as protein deglycase (EC Apparently, in different cell compartments DJ-1 exhibits catalytic and non-catalytic functions, and their ratio still remains unknown. Oxidative stress promotes dissociation of cytoplasmic DJ-1 dimers into monomers, which are translocated to the nucleus, where this protein acts as a coactivator of various signaling pathways, preventing cell death. In mitochondria, DJ-1 is found in the synthasome, where it interacts with the β ATP synthase subunit. Downregulation of the DJ-1 gene under conditions of experimental PD increases sensitivity of the cells to neurotoxins, and introduction of the recombinant DJ-1 protein attenuates manifestation of this pathology. The thirteen-membered fragment of the DJ-1 amino acid sequence attached to the heptapeptide of the TAT protein penetrating into the cells exhibited neuroprotective properties in various PD models both in cell cultures and after administration to animals. Low molecular weight DJ-1 ligands also demonstrate therapeutic potential, providing neuroprotective effects seen during their incubation with cells and administration to animals.
KEY WORDS: DJ-1 protein, structure and function, catalytic activity, pathogenic mutations, Parkinson’s disease, experimental models, DJ-1 ligands

DOI: 10.1134/S000629792106002X