Parkinson's disease (PD), the most common neurodegenerative motor disorder, is currently incurable. Although many studies have provided insights on the substantial influence of genetic factors on the occurrence and development of PD, the molecular mechanism underlying the disease is largely unclear. Previous studies have shown that point mutations in the phospholipase A2 group VI gene (PLA2G6) correlate with young-onset dystonia–parkinsonism type 14 (PARK14). However, limited information is available regarding the pathogenic role of this gene and the mechanism underlying its function. To study the role of PLA2G6 mutations, we first used zebrafish larvae to screen six PLA2G6 mutations and revealed that injection of D331Y, T572I, and R741Q mutation constructs induced phenotypes such as motility defects and reduction in dopaminergic neurons. The motility defects could be alleviated by treatment with L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa), indicating that these mutations are pathological for PARK14 symptoms. Furthermore, the injection of D331Y and T572I mutation constructs reduced phospholipase activity of PLA2G6 and its lipid metabolites, which confirmed that these two mutations are loss-of-function mutations. Metabolomic analysis revealed that D331Y or T572I mutation led to higher phospholipid and lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels, indicating that reduced DHA levels are pathological for defective motor functions. Further, a dietary DHA supplement relieved the motility defects in PLA2G6D331Y/D331Y knock-in mice. This result revealed that the D331Y mutation caused defective PLA2G6 phospholipase activity and consequently reduced the DHA level, which is the pathogenic factor responsible for PARK14. The results of this study will facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies for PARK14.
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