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author:(Liliane J dable)
1.  Dopaminergic Neuronal Loss, Reduced Neurite Complexity and Autophagic Abnormalities in Transgenic Mice Expressing G2019S Mutant LRRK2 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18568.
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause late-onset, autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease (PD) and also contribute to idiopathic PD. LRRK2 mutations represent the most common cause of PD with clinical and neurochemical features that are largely indistinguishable from idiopathic disease. Currently, transgenic mice expressing wild-type or disease-causing mutants of LRRK2 have failed to produce overt neurodegeneration, although abnormalities in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission have been observed. Here, we describe the development and characterization of transgenic mice expressing human LRRK2 bearing the familial PD mutations, R1441C and G2019S. Our study demonstrates that expression of G2019S mutant LRRK2 induces the degeneration of nigrostriatal pathway dopaminergic neurons in an age-dependent manner. In addition, we observe autophagic and mitochondrial abnormalities in the brains of aged G2019S LRRK2 mice and markedly reduced neurite complexity of cultured dopaminergic neurons. These new LRRK2 transgenic mice will provide important tools for understanding the mechanism(s) through which familial mutations precipitate neuronal degeneration and PD.
PMCID: PMC3071839  PMID: 21494637
2.  Conditional Expression of Parkinson's Disease-Related R1441C LRRK2 in Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons of Mice Causes Nuclear Abnormalities without Neurodegeneration 
Neurobiology of disease  2014;71:345-358.
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause late-onset, autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). The clinical and neurochemical features of LRRK2-linked PD are similar to idiopathic disease although neuropathology is somewhat heterogeneous. Dominant mutations in LRRK2 precipitate neurodegeneration through a toxic gain-of-function mechanism which can be modeled in transgenic mice overexpressing human LRRK2 variants. A number of LRRK2 transgenic mouse models have been developed that display abnormalities in dopaminergic neurotransmission and alterations in tau metabolism yet without consistently inducing dopaminergic neurodegeneration. To directly explore the impact of mutant LRRK2 on the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, we developed conditional transgenic mice that selectively express human R1441C LRRK2 in dopaminergic neurons from the endogenous murine ROSA26 promoter. The expression of R1441C LRRK2 does not induce the degeneration of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons or striatal dopamine deficits in mice up to 2 years of age, and fails to precipitate abnormal protein inclusions containing alpha-synuclein, tau, ubiquitin or autophagy markers (LC3 and p62). Furthermore, mice expressing R1441C LRRK2 exhibit normal motor activity and olfactory function with increasing age. Intriguingly, the expression of R1441C LRRK2 induces age-dependent abnormalities of the nuclear envelope in nigral dopaminergic neurons including reduced nuclear circularity and increased invaginations of the nuclear envelope. In addition, R1441C LRRK2 mice display increased neurite complexity of cultured midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Collectively, these novel R1441C LRRK2 conditional transgenic mice reveal altered dopaminergic neuronal morphology with advancing age, and provide a useful tool for exploring the pathogenic mechanisms underlying the R1441C LRRK2 mutation in PD.
PMCID: PMC4455551  PMID: 25174890
3.  Functional interaction of Parkinson's disease-associated LRRK2 with members of the dynamin GTPase superfamily 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(8):2055-2077.
Mutations in LRRK2 cause autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 encodes a multi-domain protein containing GTPase and kinase domains, and putative protein–protein interaction domains. Familial PD mutations alter the GTPase and kinase activity of LRRK2 in vitro. LRRK2 is suggested to regulate a number of cellular pathways although the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To explore such mechanisms, it has proved informative to identify LRRK2-interacting proteins, some of which serve as LRRK2 kinase substrates. Here, we identify common interactions of LRRK2 with members of the dynamin GTPase superfamily. LRRK2 interacts with dynamin 1–3 that mediate membrane scission in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and with dynamin-related proteins that mediate mitochondrial fission (Drp1) and fusion (mitofusins and OPA1). LRRK2 partially co-localizes with endosomal dynamin-1 or with mitofusins and OPA1 at mitochondrial membranes. The subcellular distribution and oligomeric complexes of dynamin GTPases are not altered by modulating LRRK2 in mouse brain, whereas mature OPA1 levels are reduced in G2019S PD brains. LRRK2 enhances mitofusin-1 GTP binding, whereas dynamin-1 and OPA1 serve as modest substrates of LRRK2-mediated phosphorylation in vitro. While dynamin GTPase orthologs are not required for LRRK2-induced toxicity in yeast, LRRK2 functionally interacts with dynamin-1 and mitofusin-1 in cultured neurons. LRRK2 attenuates neurite shortening induced by dynamin-1 by reducing its levels, whereas LRRK2 rescues impaired neurite outgrowth induced by mitofusin-1 potentially by reversing excessive mitochondrial fusion. Our study elucidates novel functional interactions of LRRK2 with dynamin-superfamily GTPases that implicate LRRK2 in the regulation of membrane dynamics important for endocytosis and mitochondrial morphology.
PMCID: PMC3959816  PMID: 24282027

Results 1-3 (3)