Sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) is most likely caused by a combination of environmental exposures and genetic susceptibilities, although there are rare monogenic forms of the disease. Mitochondrial impairment at complex I, oxidative stress, alpha-synuclein aggregation, and dysfunctional protein degradation, have been implicated in PD pathogenesis, but how they are related to each other is unclear. To further evaluated PD pathogenesis here, we used in vivo and in vitro models of chronic low-grade complex I inhibition with the pesticide rotenone. Chronic rotenone exposure in vivo caused oxidative modification of DJ-1, accumulation of alpha-synuclein, and proteasomal impairment. Interestingly, the effects become more regionally restricted such that systemic complex I inhibition eventually results in highly selective degeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway. DJ-1 modifications, alpha-synuclein accumulation, and proteasomal dysfunction were also seen in vitro and these effects could be prevented with alpha-tocopherol. Thus, chronic exposure to a pesticide and mitochondrial toxin brings into play three systems, DJ-1, alpha-synuclein, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and implies that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress link environmental and genetic forms of the disease.