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Results 1-4 (4)

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author:(Liliane J dable)
1.  A Parkinson's disease gene regulatory network identifies the signaling protein RGS2 as a modulator of LRRK2 activity and neuronal toxicity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(18):4887-4905.
Mutations in LRRK2 are one of the primary genetic causes of Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 contains a kinase and a GTPase domain, and familial PD mutations affect both enzymatic activities. However, the signaling mechanisms regulating LRRK2 and the pathogenic effects of familial mutations remain unknown. Identifying the signaling proteins that regulate LRRK2 function and toxicity remains a critical goal for the development of effective therapeutic strategies. In this study, we apply systems biology tools to human PD brain and blood transcriptomes to reverse-engineer a LRRK2-centered gene regulatory network. This network identifies several putative master regulators of LRRK2 function. In particular, the signaling gene RGS2, which encodes for a GTPase-activating protein (GAP), is a key regulatory hub connecting the familial PD-associated genes DJ-1 and PINK1 with LRRK2 in the network. RGS2 expression levels are reduced in the striata of LRRK2 and sporadic PD patients. We identify RGS2 as a novel interacting partner of LRRK2 in vivo. RGS2 regulates both the GTPase and kinase activities of LRRK2. We show in mammalian neurons that RGS2 regulates LRRK2 function in the control of neuronal process length. RGS2 is also protective against neuronal toxicity of the most prevalent mutation in LRRK2, G2019S. We find that RGS2 regulates LRRK2 function and neuronal toxicity through its effects on kinase activity and independently of GTPase activity, which reveals a novel mode of action for GAP proteins. This work identifies RGS2 as a promising target for interfering with neurodegeneration due to LRRK2 mutations in PD patients.
PMCID: PMC4140468  PMID: 24794857
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.
PMCID: PMC4119414  PMID: 24740878
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
4.  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.
PMCID: PMC3465694  PMID: 22186024

Results 1-4 (4)