The genetic architecture of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease

S. B. Larsen, Z. Hanss*, R. Krüger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondrial impairment is a well-established pathological pathway implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Defects of the complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain have been found in post-mortem brains from sporadic PD patients. Furthermore, several disease-related genes are linked to mitochondrial pathways, such as PRKN, PINK1, DJ-1 and HTRA2 and are associated with mitochondrial impairment. This phenotype can be caused by the dysfunction of mitochondrial quality control machinery at different levels: molecular, organellar or cellular. Mitochondrial unfolded protein response represents the molecular level and implicates various chaperones and proteases. If the molecular level of quality control is not sufficient, the organellar level is required and involves mitophagy and mitochondrial-derived vesicles to sequester whole dysfunctional organelle or parts of it. Only when the impairment is too severe, does it lead to cell death via apoptosis, which defines the cellular level of quality control. Here, we review how currently known PD-linked genetic variants interfere with different levels of mitochondrial quality control. We discuss the graded risk concept of the most recently identified PARK loci (PARK 17–23) and some susceptibility variants in GBA, LRRK2 and SNCA. Finally, the emerging concept of rare genetic variants in candidates genes for PD, such as HSPA9, TRAP1 and RHOT1, complete the picture of the complex genetic architecture of PD that will direct future precision medicine approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetics
  • Mitochondria
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Quality control
  • Risk factors


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