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Parkinson s disease (PD) is a common incurable neurodegenerative disease. The identification of genetic variants via genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has considerably advanced our understanding of the PD genetic risk. Understanding the functional significance of the risk loci is now a critical step towards translating these genetic advances into an enhanced biological understanding of the disease. Impaired mitophagy is a key causative pathway in familial PD, but its relevance to idiopathic PD is unclear. We used a mitophagy screening assay to evaluate the functional significance of risk genes identified through GWAS. We identified two new regulators of PINK1-mitophagy, KAT8 and KANSL1, previously shown to modulate lysine acetylation. These findings establish PINK1-mitophagy as a contributing factor to idiopathic PD. KANSL1 is located on chromosome 17q21 where the risk associated gene has long been considered to be MAPT. Our data provide evidence that this assignment is likely to be incorrect and that variability at KANSL1 underpins this association. Finally, these results enrich our understanding of physiological events regulating mitophagy and establish a novel pathway for drug targeting in neurodegeneration.

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