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Autophagy inhibition rescues structural and functional defects caused by the loss of mitochondrial chaperone Hsc70-5 in Drosophila

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posted on 13.10.2021, 19:22 by Jun-yi Zhu, Shabab B. Hannan, Nina M. Dräger, Natalia Vereshchagina, Ann-Christin Krahl, Yulong Fu, Christopher J.H. Elliott, Zhe Han, Thomas R. Jahn, Tobias M. Rasse

We investigated in larval and adult Drosophila models whether loss of the mitochondrial chaperone Hsc70-5 is sufficient to cause pathological alterations commonly observed in Parkinson disease. At affected larval neuromuscular junctions, no effects on terminal size, bouton size or number, synapse size, or number were observed, suggesting that we studied an early stage of pathogenesis. At this stage, we noted a loss of synaptic vesicle proteins and active zone components, delayed synapse maturation, reduced evoked and spontaneous excitatory junctional potentials, increased synaptic fatigue, and cytoskeleton rearrangements. The adult model displayed ATP depletion, altered body posture, and susceptibility to heat-induced paralysis. Adult phenotypes could be suppressed by knockdown of dj-1β, Lrrk, DCTN2-p50, DCTN1-p150, Atg1, Atg101, Atg5, Atg7, and Atg12. The knockdown of components of the macroautophagy/autophagy machinery or overexpression of human HSPA9 broadly rescued larval and adult phenotypes, while disease-associated HSPA9 variants did not. Overexpression of Pink1 or promotion of autophagy exacerbated defects.

Abbreviations: AEL: after egg laying; AZ: active zone; brp: bruchpilot; Csp: cysteine string protein; dlg: discs large; eEJPs: evoked excitatory junctional potentials; GluR: glutamate receptor; H2O2: hydrogen peroxide; mEJP: miniature excitatory junctional potentials; MT: microtubule; NMJ: neuromuscular junction; PD: Parkinson disease; Pink1: PTEN-induced putative kinase 1; PSD: postsynaptic density; SSR: subsynaptic reticulum; SV: synaptic vesicle; VGlut: vesicular glutamate transporter.


This work was supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (grant awarded to TMR), Parkinson’s UK (grant H1201 awarded to CJHE), the Hertie Foundation (for stipends awarded to JZ, SBH, NV), the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation (for supporting SBH, NMD, TRJ), and Max Planck Society (for TMR).