DJ-1 modulates the expression of Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase-1 through the Erk1/2-Elk1 pathway in neuroprotection

Zhiquan Wang, Jun Liu, Siyan Chen, Ying Wang, Li Cao, Yu Zhang, Wenyan Kang, Hui Li, Yaxing Gui, Shengdi Chen, Jianqing Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Loss of function mutations of Park7/DJ-1 gene increase the susceptibility of dopaminergic cells to reactive oxygen species and cause early onset familial Parkinson disease (PD). However, the mechanisms underlying dopaminergic neuron loss related to DJ-1 mutation remain undefined. Therefore, it is important to find the new mechanisms underlying the antioxidative functions of DJ-1. Methods: DJ-1 knockdown cells and DJ-1 knockout mice were used to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the antioxidative stress of DJ-1. Preliminary study of the saliva from PD patients and controls was used to confirm our findings obtained from the above studies. Results: Our experiments showed that DJ-1 interacted with Erk1/2 and was required for the nuclear translocation of Erk1/2 upon oxidative stimulation. The translocation of Erk1/2 activated Elk1 and sequentially promoted superoxide dismutase1 (SOD1) expression. The nuclear translocation of Erk1/2, the activation of Elk1, and the ensuing upregulation of SOD1 were all suppressed in DJ-1 knockdown cells and DJ-1 null mice treated with oxidative insult. Furthermore, reintroduction of SOD1 into DJ-1 knockdown cells protected them against oxidative stress. Finally, in the preliminary study, we found close correlation between the protein levels of DJ-1 and SOD1 in the saliva samples from different stages of PD patients. Interpretation: Our studies suggest that DJ-1 regulates SOD1 expression through Erk1/2-Elk1 pathway in its protective response to oxidative insult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-599
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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