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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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018568
PMCID: PMC3071839  PMID: 21494637
2.  Parkinson's disease-linked mutations in VPS35 induce dopaminergic neurodegeneration 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(17):4621-4638.
Mutations in the vacuolar protein sorting 35 homolog (VPS35) gene at the PARK17 locus, encoding a key component of the retromer complex, were recently identified as a new cause of late-onset, autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we explore the pathogenic consequences of PD-associated mutations in VPS35 using a number of model systems. VPS35 exhibits a broad neuronal distribution throughout the rodent brain, including within the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. In the human brain, VPS35 protein levels and distribution are similar in tissues from control and PD subjects, and VPS35 is not associated with Lewy body pathology. The common D620N missense mutation in VPS35 does not compromise its protein stability or localization to endosomal and lysosomal vesicles, or the vesicular sorting of the retromer cargo, sortilin, SorLA and cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor, in rodent primary neurons or patient-derived human fibroblasts. In yeast we show that PD-linked VPS35 mutations are functional and can normally complement VPS35 null phenotypes suggesting that they do not result in a loss-of-function. In rat primary cortical cultures the overexpression of human VPS35 induces neuronal cell death and increases neuronal vulnerability to PD-relevant cellular stress. In a novel viral-mediated gene transfer rat model, the expression of D620N VPS35 induces the marked degeneration of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons and axonal pathology, a cardinal pathological hallmark of PD. Collectively, these studies establish that dominant VPS35 mutations lead to neurodegeneration in PD consistent with a gain-of-function mechanism, and support a key role for VPS35 in the development of PD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu178
PMCID: PMC4119414  PMID: 24740878
3.  PARK9-associated ATP13A2 localizes to intracellular acidic vesicles and regulates cation homeostasis and neuronal integrity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;21(8):1725-1743.
Mutations in the ATP13A2 gene (PARK9, OMIM 610513) cause autosomal recessive, juvenile-onset Kufor-Rakeb syndrome and early-onset parkinsonism. ATP13A2 is an uncharacterized protein belonging to the P5-type ATPase subfamily that is predicted to regulate the membrane transport of cations. The physiological function of ATP13A2 in the mammalian brain is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that ATP13A2 is localized to intracellular acidic vesicular compartments in cultured neurons. In the human brain, ATP13A2 is localized to pyramidal neurons within the cerebral cortex and dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. ATP13A2 protein levels are increased in nigral dopaminergic and cortical pyramidal neurons of Parkinson's disease brains compared with normal control brains. ATP13A2 levels are increased in cortical neurons bearing Lewy bodies (LBs) compared with neurons without LBs. Using short hairpin RNA-mediated silencing or overexpression to explore the function of ATP13A2, we find that modulating the expression of ATP13A2 reduces the neurite outgrowth of cultured midbrain dopaminergic neurons. We also find that silencing of ATP13A2 expression in cortical neurons alters the kinetics of intracellular pH in response to cadmium exposure. Furthermore, modulation of ATP13A2 expression leads to reduced intracellular calcium levels in cortical neurons. Finally, we demonstrate that silencing of ATP13A2 expression induces mitochondrial fragmentation in neurons. Oppositely, overexpression of ATP13A2 delays cadmium-induced mitochondrial fragmentation in neurons consistent with a neuroprotective effect. Collectively, this study reveals a number of intriguing neuronal phenotypes due to the loss- or gain-of-function of ATP13A2 that support a role for this protein in regulating intracellular cation homeostasis and neuronal integrity.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr606
PMCID: PMC3465694  PMID: 22186024

Results 1-3 (3)