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Relationship: 904


A descriptive phrase which clearly defines the two KEs being considered and the sequential relationship between them (i.e., which is upstream, and which is downstream). More help

N/A, Mitochondrial dysfunction 1 leads to Impaired, Proteostasis

Upstream event
The causing Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help
Downstream event
The responding Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help

Key Event Relationship Overview

The utility of AOPs for regulatory application is defined, to a large extent, by the confidence and precision with which they facilitate extrapolation of data measured at low levels of biological organisation to predicted outcomes at higher levels of organisation and the extent to which they can link biological effect measurements to their specific causes. Within the AOP framework, the predictive relationships that facilitate extrapolation are represented by the KERs. Consequently, the overall WoE for an AOP is a reflection in part, of the level of confidence in the underlying series of KERs it encompasses. Therefore, describing the KERs in an AOP involves assembling and organising the types of information and evidence that defines the scientific basis for inferring the probable change in, or state of, a downstream KE from the known or measured state of an upstream KE. More help

AOPs Referencing Relationship

AOP Name Adjacency Weight of Evidence Quantitative Understanding Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Inhibition of the mitochondrial complex I of nigro-striatal neurons leads to parkinsonian motor deficits adjacent Moderate Low Cataia Ives (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
Mitochondrial complex inhibition leading to liver injury adjacent Not Specified Not Specified Arthur Author (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KER.In general, this will be dictated by the more restrictive of the two KEs being linked together by the KER.  More help

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KER. More help

Life Stage Applicability

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KER.  More help

Key Event Relationship Description

Provides a concise overview of the information given below as well as addressing details that aren’t inherent in the description of the KEs themselves. More help

In any cell type, including neurons, the protein homeostasis (proteostasis) plays a key role in cellular functions. There are two major systems involved in the removal of damaged cellular structures (e.g. defective mitochondria) and misfolded or damaged proteins, the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and the autophagy–lysosome pathway (ALP). These processes are highly energy demanding and highly susceptible to oxidative stress. Upon mitochondrial dysfunction UPS and ALP functions are compromised resulting in increased protein aggregation and impaired intracellular protein/organelles transport (e.g. Zaltieri et al., 2015; Song and Cortopassi, 2015; Fujita et al., 2014; Esteves et al., 2011; Sherer et al., 2002).

Evidence Collection Strategy

Include a description of the approach for identification and assembly of the evidence base for the KER.  For evidence identification, include, for example, a description of the sources and dates of information consulted including expert knowledge, databases searched and associated search terms/strings.  Include also a description of study screening criteria and methodology, study quality assessment considerations, the data extraction strategy and links to any repositories/databases of relevant references.Tabular summaries and links to relevant supporting documentation are encouraged, wherever possible. More help

Evidence Supporting this KER

Addresses the scientific evidence supporting KERs in an AOP setting the stage for overall assessment of the AOP. More help

The weight of evidence supporting the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired proteostasis, including the impaired function of UPS and ALP that results in decreased protein degradation and increase protein aggregation is strong.

Biological Plausibility
Addresses the biological rationale for a connection between KEupstream and KEdownstream.  This field can also incorporate additional mechanistic details that help inform the relationship between KEs, this is useful when it is not practical/pragmatic to represent these details as separate KEs due to the difficulty or relative infrequency with which it is likely to be measured.   More help

The biological relationship between Mitochondrial dysfunction and Impaired proteostasis (unbalanced protein homeostasis) that involves dysregulation of proteins degradation (misfolded or damaged) as well as removal of cell organelles is partly understood. Under physiological conditions, mechanisms by which proteostasis is ensured include regulated protein translation, chaperone assisted protein folding and functional protein degradation pathways. Under oxidative stress, the proteostasis function becomes burdened with proteins modified by ROS (Powers et al., 2009; Zaltieri et al., 2015). These changed proteins can lead to further misfolding and aggregation of proteins (especially in non-dividing cells, like neurons). Particularly in DA cells, oxidative stress from dopamine metabolism and dopamine auto-oxidation may selectively increase their vulnerability to CI inhibitors (such as rotenone) and cause additional deregulation of protein degradation (Lotharius and Brundin, 2002; Esteves et al., 2011). As most oxidized proteins get degraded by UPS and ALP (McNaught and Jenner, 2001), mitochondrial dysfunction and subsequent deregulation of proteostasis play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of PD (Dagda et al., 2013; Pan et al., 2008; Fornai et al., 2005; Sherer et al., 2002). It is also well documented that increased oxidative stress changes the protein degradation machinery and leads to a reduction of proteasome activity (Lin and Beal, 2006; Schapira, 2006).

Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
Addresses inconsistencies or uncertainties in the relationship including the identification of experimental details that may explain apparent deviations from the expected patterns of concordance. More help
  • The exact molecular link from mitochondrial dysfunction to disturbed proteostasis is not known. It is not clear which is the oxidative modification that drives the process.
  • The sequence of events taking place after inhibition of CI is not entirely clear (Zaltieri et al., 2015). Some studies suggest that induced oxidative stress leads to α-synuclein aggregation that triggers proteosomal dysfunction (Betarbet et al., 2006). Such order of events is suggested to take place in vivo (McNaught and Jenner, 2001). However, in other studies opposite sequence of events is proposed suggesting that first proteosomal dysfunction take place that leads to α-synuclein aggregation.

A vicious circle is observed here as α-synuclein aggregation potentiates proteosomal dysfunction and v/v. In this vicious cycle it is difficult to establish exact quantitative relationship of these two events.

  • Whether α-synuclein is a substrate for proteasome remains controversial since both positive and negative data have been reported (Paxinou et al., 2001). Furthermore, polyubiquitination of α-synuclein, a prerequisite for 26S proteasomal degradation has yet to be reported (Stefanis et al., 2001). It is also not clear whether polyubiquitination of α-synuclein is necessary for its degradation. However, α-synuclein gets targeted by the UPS in the SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cell line. Phosphorylated α-synuclein gets targeted to mono- or di-ubiquitination in synucleinopathy brains (Hasegawa et al., 2002), but it is not clear if this modification can play any role in proteasomal degradation since monoubiquitination of proteins serves mainly as a signal for endocytosis or membrane trafficking.
  • On the contrary to the increased α-synuclein levels observed in the midbrain, decreased α-synuclein levels were found in the cerebellums of PD patients when compared to controls, suggesting an imbalance of α-synuclein levels in different parts of the brain (Westerlund et al., 2008).
  • Although mitochondrial alterations have been reported in PD patients (Ikawa et al., 2011) and disease models, it is not clear whether they represent a primary pathogenic mechanism. In particular, the critical interplay between mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, which has been widely reported in PD (Dias et al., 2013) and could constitute either a cause or a consequence of mitochondrial damage, hampers an effective comprehension of the above mentioned studies. Oxidative stress can constitute a bridge connecting mitochondrial dysfunction to the induction of α-synuclein misfolding, aggregation, and accumulation, but otherwise it may be also triggered by these latter events that in turn could induce mitochondrial alterations (Zhu and Chu, 2010; Dias et al., 2013).
  • It is still unclear whether the involvement of α-synuclein in chronic MPTP toxicity reflects a physiological function for α-synuclein that has been activated in the wrong context, or whether α-synuclein produces an accidental pathogenicity that contributes to MPTP toxicity but is unrelated to the normal function of α-synuclein (Fornai et al., 2005).
  • The inconsistent effects of MPP+ on autophagy (up or down regulation) are reported. It may be attributed to differences observed between immortalized cell lines and primary neurons, different timing or dose. While dysregulation of autophagy is always described, the direction is not clear. Further studies are required to clarify this issue.
  • MPTP administration does not induce Lewy body formation (in contrast to rotenone) characteristic of PD, even after repeated injections (Drolet et al., 2004; Dauer et al., 2002).
  • There is also controversy over whether the increase in autophagic markers is protective or, on the contrary, causative of neuronal death.
  • MPP+ may have effects apart from CI inhibition, e.g., on microtubules but it is still unclear whether this is a primary effect. Indeed, MPP+ binds to microtubules in PC12 cells and inhibits their polymerization and stability (Cappelletti et al., 1999; Cappelletti et al., 2001).
  • It is not clear whether microtubules disruption may be associated with α-synuclein aggregation since tubulin was shown to co-localize with α-synuclein in Lewy bodies. Furthermore, tubulin folding is dependent on ATP and GTP hydrolysis, and mitochondrial dysfunction with subsequent energy failure could trigger microtubules disruption. Cytoskeletal microtubule (MT) injury is likely to be responsible for altered rearrangement and movement of cell organelles, being a common feature of several neurodegenerative diseases including PD (Wade, 2009; Mattson et al., 1999).
  • It is not clear whether rotenone could cause microtubules depolymerization in vivo and in vitro (Brinkley et al., 1974) by binding to the colchicine site on tubulin heterodimers (Marshall et al., 1978). Ren and Feng (2007) found that microtubule depolymerization induced by rotenone caused vesicle accumulation in the soma and kills neurons.

Known modulating factors

This table captures specific information on the MF, its properties, how it affects the KER and respective references.1.) What is the modulating factor? Name the factor for which solid evidence exists that it influences this KER. Examples: age, sex, genotype, diet 2.) Details of this modulating factor. Specify which features of this MF are relevant for this KER. Examples: a specific age range or a specific biological age (defined by...); a specific gene mutation or variant, a specific nutrient (deficit or surplus); a sex-specific homone; a certain threshold value (e.g. serum levels of a chemical above...) 3.) Description of how this modulating factor affects this KER. Describe the provable modification of the KER (also quantitatively, if known). Examples: increase or decrease of the magnitude of effect (by a factor of...); change of the time-course of the effect (onset delay by...); alteration of the probability of the effect; increase or decrease of the sensitivity of the downstream effect (by a factor of...) 4.) Provision of supporting scientific evidence for an effect of this MF on this KER. Give a list of references.  More help
Response-response Relationship
Provides sources of data that define the response-response relationships between the KEs.  More help
Information regarding the approximate time-scale of the changes in KEdownstream relative to changes in KEupstream (i.e., do effects on KEdownstream lag those on KEupstream by seconds, minutes, hours, or days?). More help
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
Define whether there are known positive or negative feedback mechanisms involved and what is understood about their time-course and homeostatic limits. More help

Domain of Applicability

A free-text section of the KER description that the developers can use to explain their rationale for the taxonomic, life stage, or sex applicability structured terms. More help

The ubiquitin proteasome system is highly conserved in eukaryotes, from yeast to human. Ubiquitin is a small (8.5 kDa) regulatory protein that has been found in almost all tissues of eukaryotic organisms. For instance, drosophila has been used as PD model to study the role of ubiquitin in α-synuclein induced-toxicity (Lee et al., 2009). Human and yeast ubiquitin share 96% sequence identity. Neither ubiquitin nor the ubiquitination machinery are known to exist in prokaryotes. Autophagy is ubiquitous in eukaryotic cells and is the major mechanism involved in the clearance of oxidatively or otherwise damaged/worn-out macromolecules and organelles (Esteves et al., 2011). Due to the high degree of conservation, most of the knowledge on autophagy proteins in vertebrates is derived from studies in yeast (Klionsky et al., 2007). Autophagy is seen in all eukaryotic systems, including fungi, plants, slime mold, nematodes, fruit flies and insects, rodents (i.e., laboratory mice and rats), and humans. It is a fundamental and phylogenetically conserved self-degradation process that is characterized by the formation of double-layered vesicles (autophagosomes) around intracellular cargo for delivery to lysosomes and proteolytic degradation.


List of the literature that was cited for this KER description. More help

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Ambrosi G, Ghezzi C, Sepe S, Milanese C, Payan-Gomez C, Bombardieri CR, Armentero MT, Zangaglia R, Pacchetti C, Mastroberardino PG, Blandini F. Bioenergetic and proteolytic defects in fibroblasts from patients with sporadic Parkinson's disease. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Sep;1842(9):1385-94.

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Betarbet R, Canet-Aviles RM, Sherer TB, Mastroberardino PG, McLendon C, Kim JH, et al. 2006. Intersecting pathways to neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease: effects of the pesticide rotenone on DJ-1, α-synuclein, and the ubiquitin–proteasome system. Neurobiol Dis. 22:404–20.

Betarbet R., Sherer T.B., Greenamyre J.T. Ubiquitin-proteasome system and Parkinson's diseases. Exp. Neurol., 191 (Suppl.) (2005), pp. S17–S27

Betarbet R, Sherer TB, MacKenzie G, Garcia-Osuna M, Panov AV, Greenamyre JT. 2000. Chronic systemic pesticide exposure reproduces features of Parkinson’s disease. Nat Neurosci. 3:1301–6.

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Cappelletti G, Maggioni MG, Maci R. 1999. Influence of MPP+ on the state of tubulin polymerisation in NGF-differentiated PC12 cells. J Neurosci Res. 56(1):28-35.

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