A zebrafish model of PINK1 deficiency reveals key pathway dysfunction including HIF signaling.
The PTEN induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) gene is mutated in patients with hereditary early onset Parkinson's disease (PD). The targets of PINK1 and the mechanisms in PD are still not fully understood. Here, we carried out a high-throughput and unbiased microarray study to identify novel functions and pathways for PINK1. In larval zebrafish, the function of pink1 was inhibited using splice-site morpholino oligonucleotides and the samples were hybridized on a two-color gene expression array. We found 177 significantly altered genes in pink1 morphants compared with the uninjected wildtype controls (log fold change values from -1.6 to +0.9). The five most prominent pathways based on critical biological processes and key toxicological responses were hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling, TGF-β signaling, mitochondrial dysfunction, RAR activation, and biogenesis of mitochondria. Furthermore, we verified that potentially important genes such as hif1α, catalase, SOD3, and atp1a2a were downregulated in pink1 morphants, whereas genes such as fech, pax2a, and notch1a were upregulated. Some of these genes have been found to play important roles in HIF signaling pathways. The pink1 morphants were found to have heart dysfunction, increased erythropoiesis, increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factors, and increased ROS. Our findings suggest that a lack of pink1 in zebrafish alters many vital and critical pathways in addition to the HIF signaling pathway. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.