Nature communications

Synaptotagmin-11 is a critical mediator of parkin-linked neurotoxicity and Parkinson's disease-like pathology.

PMID 29311685


Loss-of-function mutations in Parkin are the most common causes of autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease (PD). Many putative substrates of parkin have been reported; their pathogenic roles, however, remain obscure due to poor characterization, particularly in vivo. Here, we show that synaptotagmin-11, encoded by a PD-risk gene SYT11, is a physiological substrate of parkin and plays critical roles in mediating parkin-linked neurotoxicity. Unilateral overexpression of full-length, but not C2B-truncated, synaptotagmin-11 in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) impairs ipsilateral striatal dopamine release, causes late-onset degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, and induces progressive contralateral motor abnormalities. Mechanistically, synaptotagmin-11 impairs vesicle pool replenishment and thus dopamine release by inhibiting endocytosis. Furthermore, parkin deficiency induces synaptotagmin-11 accumulation and PD-like neurotoxicity in mouse models, which is reversed by SYT11 knockdown in the SNpc or knockout of SYT11 restricted to dopaminergic neurons. Thus, PD-like neurotoxicity induced by parkin dysfunction requires synaptotagmin-11 accumulation in SNpc dopaminergic neurons.