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Rescue of Pink1 deficiency by stress-dependent activation of TFEB


Stimulating autophagy is a promising therapeutic strategy for slowing the progression of neurodegenerative disease. Neurons are insensitive to current approaches based on mTOR inhibition for activating autophagy and instead rely on the Parkinson's disease-associated proteins PINK1 and PARKIN to activate the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in response to mitochondrial damage. We developed a multifactorial zebrafish drug-screening platform combining Pink1 deficiency with an environmental toxin to compromise mitochondrial function and trigger dopaminergic neurone loss. Using a phenotypic screening strategy, we identified a series of piperazine phenothiazines, including trifluoperazine, which activated autophagy selectively in stressed zebrafish and human cells. We show that trifluoperazine acts downstream of, or parallel to, PINK1/PARKIN to stimulate Transcription Factor EB (TFEB) nuclear translocation and the expression of autophagy-lysosomal target genes. The cell-based and in vivo assays presented here will aid in the refinement of the trifluoperazine pharmacophore for the development of new stress-dependent autophagy activators.

Type Journal
Authors Zhang, Y,. Nguyen, D.T., Olzomer, E.M., Poon, G.P., Puvanendran, A., Phillips, B.R., Hesselson, D.
Publisher Name Nature Chemical Biology
Published Date 2017-04-30
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version