Synaptojanin 1 (SJ1) is a major presynaptic phosphatase that couples synaptic vesicle endocytosis to the dephosphorylation of PI(4,5)P2, a reaction needed for the shedding of endocytic factors from their membranes. While the role of SJ1's 5-phosphatase module in this process is well recognized, the contribution of its Sac phosphatase domain, whose preferred substrate is PI4P, remains unclear. Recently a homozygous mutation in its Sac domain was identified in early-onset parkinsonism patients. We show that mice carrying this mutation developed neurological manifestations similar to those of human patients. Synapses of these mice displayed endocytic defects and a striking accumulation of clathrin-coated intermediates, strongly implicating Sac domain's activity in endocytic protein dynamics. Mutant brains had elevated auxilin (PARK19) and parkin (PARK2) levels. Moreover, dystrophic axonal terminal changes were selectively observed in dopaminergic axons in the dorsal striatum. These results strengthen evidence for a link between synaptic endocytic dysfunction and Parkinson's disease.
Endocrine cells store hormones in concentrated forms (aggregates) in dense-core secretory granules that are released upon appropriate stimulation. Zn(2+) binding to GH through amino acid residues His18, His21, and Glu174 are essential for GH dimerization and might mediate its aggregation and storage in secretory granules. To investigate whether GH-1 gene mutations at these positions interfere with this process, GH secretion and intracellular production were analyzed in GC cells (rat pituitary cell line) transiently expressing wt-GH and/or GH Zn mutant (GH-H18A-H21A-E174A) in forskolin-stimulated vs nonstimulated conditions. Reduced secretion of the mutant variant (alone or coexpressed with wt-GH) compared with wt-GH after forskolin stimulation was observed, whereas an increased intracellular accumulation of GH Zn mutant vs wt-GH correlates with its altered extracellular secretion. Depleting Zn(2+) from culture medium using N,N,N',N'-tetrakis(2-pyridylemethyl)ethylenediamine, a high-affinity Zn(2+) chelator, led to a significant reduction of the stimulated wt-GH secretion. Furthermore, externally added Zn(2+) to culture medium increased intracellular free Zn(2+) levels and recovered wt-GH secretion, suggesting its direct dependence on free Zn(2+) levels after forskolin stimulation. Confocal microscopy analysis of the intracellular secretory pathway of wt-GH and GH Zn mutant indicated that both variants pass through the regulated secretory pathway in a similar manner. Taken together, our data support the hypothesis that loss of affinity of GH to Zn(2+) as well as altering intracellular free Zn(2+) content may interfere with normal GH dimerization (aggregation) and storage of the mutant variant (alone or with wt-GH), which could possibly explain impaired GH secretion.