Mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) are a common cause of autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease. In a recent issue of Nature, two independent reports by Park et al. (2006) and Clark et al. (2006) show that loss of Drosophila PINK1 leads to defects in mitochondrial function resulting in male sterility, apoptotic muscle degeneration, and minor loss of dopamine neurons that is rescued by overexpression of the ubiquitin E3 ligase, parkin. Thus, PINK1 and parkin appear to function in a common pathway suggesting a convergence of the two genes most commonly associated with autosomal recessive PD.
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