Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal, but elevated cellular levels are toxic and may lead to the development of an irreversible parkinsonian-like syndrome that has no treatment. Mn-induced parkinsonism generally occurs as a result of exposure to elevated Mn levels in occupational or environmental settings. Additionally, patients with compromised liver function attributable to diseases, such as cirrhosis, fail to excrete Mn and may develop Mn-induced parkinsonism in the absence of exposure to elevated Mn. Recently, a new form of familial parkinsonism was reported to occur as a result of mutations in SLC30A10. The cellular function of SLC30A10 and the mechanisms by which mutations in this protein cause parkinsonism are unclear. Here, using a combination of mechanistic and functional studies in cell culture, Caenorhabditis elegans, and primary midbrain neurons, we show that SLC30A10 is a cell surface-localized Mn efflux transporter that reduces cellular Mn levels and protects against Mn-induced toxicity. Importantly, mutations in SLC30A10 that cause familial parkinsonism blocked the ability of the transporter to traffic to the cell surface and to mediate Mn efflux. Although expression of disease-causing SLC30A10 mutations were not deleterious by themselves, neurons and worms expressing these mutants exhibited enhanced sensitivity to Mn toxicity. Our results provide novel insights into the mechanisms involved in the onset of a familial form of parkinsonism and highlight the possibility of using enhanced Mn efflux as a therapeutic strategy for the potential management of Mn-induced parkinsonism, including that occurring as a result of mutations in SLC30A10.
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