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PARK7/DJ-1 promotes pyruvate dehydrogenase activity and maintains Treg homeostasis during ageing.

Nat Metab. 2022 May;4(5):589-607. doi: 10.1038/s42255-022-00576-y. Epub 2022 May 26. PMID: 35618940.

Authors/Editors: Danileviciute E, Zeng N, Capelle CM, Paczia N, Gillespie MA, Kurniawan H, Benzarti M, Merz MP, Coowar D, Fritah S, Vogt Weisenhorn DM, Gomez Giro G, Grusdat M, Baron A, Guerin C, Franchina DG, Léonard C, Domingues O, Delhalle S, Wurst W, Turner JD, Schwamborn JC, Meiser J, Krüger R, Ranish J, Brenner D, Linster CL, Balling R, Ollert M, Hefeng FQ.
Publication Date: 2022


Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is the gatekeeper enzyme of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here we show that the deglycase DJ-1 (encoded by PARK7, a key familial Parkinson’s disease gene) is a pacemaker regulating PDH activity in CD4+ regulatory T cells (Treg cells). DJ-1 binds to PDHE1-β (PDHB), inhibiting phosphorylation of PDHE1-α (PDHA), thus promoting PDH activity and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Park7 (Dj-1) deletion impairs Treg survival starting in young mice and reduces Treg homeostatic proliferation and cellularity only in aged mice. This leads to increased severity in aged mice during the remission of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Dj-1 deletion also compromises differentiation of inducible Treg cells especially in aged mice, and the impairment occurs via regulation of PDHB. These findings provide unforeseen insight into the complicated regulatory machinery of the PDH complex. As Treg homeostasis is dysregulated in many complex diseases, the DJ-1–PDHB axis represents a potential target to maintain or re-establish Treg homeostasis.



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