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PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1) protects from mitochondrial dysfunction in cells by conferring different autophosphorylation activity to mitochondrial genes. The kinase domain of PINK1 appears to be critical in its protective effects. Mitochondrial proteins are critical for the regulation of cellular energy and adaptation to stress. Particularly in brain cells, mitochondrial demand is extraordinarily high, in order to accommodate aerobic and anaerobic support of high energy processes. When mitochondrial structure and/or function is disrupted in the brain, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease are triggered.
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