Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is known to play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases including Parkinson disease, morbus Crohn, leprosy and cancer. LRRK2 is suggested to be involved in a number of cell biological processes such as vesicular trafficking, transcription, autophagy and lysosomal pathways. Recent histological studies of lungs of LRRK2 knock-out (LRRK2 -/-) mice revealed significantly enlarged lamellar bodies (LBs) in alveolar type II (ATII) epithelial cells. LBs are large, lysosome-related storage organelles for pulmonary surfactant, which is released into the alveolar lumen upon LB exocytosis. In this study we used high-resolution, subcellular live-cell imaging assays to investigate whether similar morphological changes can be observed in primary ATII cells from LRRK2 -/- rats and whether such changes result in altered LB exocytosis. Similarly to the report in mice, ATII cells from LRRK2 -/- rats contained significantly enlarged LBs resulting in a >50% increase in LB volume. Stimulation of ATII cells with ATP elicited LB exocytosis in a significantly increased proportion of cells from LRRK2 -/- animals. LRRK2 -/- cells also displayed increased intracellular Ca2+ release upon ATP treatment and significant triggering of LB exocytosis. These findings are in line with the strong Ca2+-dependence of LB fusion activity and suggest that LRRK2 -/- affects exocytic response in ATII cells via modulating intracellular Ca2+ signaling. Post-fusion regulation of surfactant secretion was unaltered. Actin coating of fused vesicles and subsequent vesicle compression to promote surfactant expulsion were comparable in cells from LRRK2 -/- and wt animals. Surprisingly, surfactant (phospholipid) release from LRRK2 -/- cells was reduced following stimulation of LB exocytosis possibly due to impaired LB maturation and surfactant loading of LBs. In summary our results suggest that LRRK2 -/- affects LB size, modulates intracellular Ca2+ signaling and promotes LB exocytosis upon stimulation of ATII cells with ATP.
A key feature of Parkinson disease is the aggregation of α-synuclein and its intracellular deposition in fibrillar form. Increasing evidence suggests that the pathogenicity of α-synuclein is correlated with the activity of oligomers formed in the early stages of its aggregation process. Oligomers toxicity seems to be associated with both their ability to bind and affect the integrity of lipid membranes. Previously, we demonstrated that α-synuclein forms oligomeric species in the presence of docosahexaenoic acid and that these species are toxic to cells. Here we studied how interaction of these oligomers with membranes results in cell toxicity, using cellular membrane-mimetic and cell model systems. We found that α-synuclein oligomers are able to interact with large and small unilamellar negatively charged vesicles acquiring an increased amount of α-helical structure, which induces small molecules release. We explored the possibility that oligomers effects on membranes could be due to pore formation, to a detergent-like effect or to fibril growth on the membrane. Our biophysical and cellular findings are consistent with a model where α-synuclein oligomers are embedded into the lipid bilayer causing transient alteration of membrane permeability.
CK1δ, a member of the casein kinase 1 family, is involved in the regulation of various cellular processes and has been associated with the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Therefore recently, interest in generating highly specific inhibitors for personalized therapy has increased enormously. However, the efficacy of newly developed inhibitors is affected by the phosphorylation state of CK1δ. Cellular kinases phosphorylating CK1δ within its C-terminal domain have been identified but still more information regarding the role of site-specific phosphorylation in modulating the activity of CK1δ is required. Here we show that Chk1 phosphorylates rat CK1δ at serine residues 328, 331, 370, and threonine residue 397 as well as the human CK1δ transcription variants 1 and 2. CK1δ mutant proteins bearing one, two or three mutations at these identified phosphorylation sites exhibited significant differences in their kinetic properties compared to wild-type CK1δ. Additionally, CK1δ co-precipitates with Chk1 from HT1080 cell extracts and activation of cellular Chk1 resulted in a significant decrease in cellular CK1δ kinase activity. Taken together, these data point towards a possible regulatory relationship between Chk1 and CK1δ.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is pathologically characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies (LBs) in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. These intracellular inclusions are largely composed of misfolded α-synuclein (AS), a neuronal protein that is abundant in the vertebrate brain. Point mutations in AS are associated with rare, early-onset forms of PD, although aggregation of the wild-type (WT) protein is observed in the more common sporadic forms of the disease. Here, we employed multidimensional solid-state NMR experiments to assess A53T and E46K mutant fibrils, in comparison to our recent description of WT AS fibrils. We made de novo chemical shift assignments for the mutants, and used these chemical shifts to empirically determine secondary structures. We observe significant perturbations in secondary structure throughout the fibril core for the E46K fibril, while the A53T fibril exhibits more localized perturbations near the mutation site. Overall, these results demonstrate that the secondary structure of A53T has some small differences from the WT and the secondary structure of E46K has significant differences, which may alter the overall structural arrangement of the fibrils.
Growing evidence indicates the role of exosomes in a variety of physiological pathways as conveyors of biological materials from cell-to-cell. However the molecular mechanism(s) of secretion and their interaction with receiving cells are yet unclear. Recently, it is emerging that exosomes are involved in pathological processes as potential carriers in the progression of neurodegenerative pathologies associated with misfolded proteins. In the current review we will discuss some recent findings on the key role of exosomes in the spreading of the aggregated products of α-synuclein from neuron-to-neuron and of inflammatory response propagation from immune cell-to-cell; we will highlight the implication of exosomes in the neurodegeneration and progression of the disease and the their potential interplay with genes related to Parkinson’s disease. Increasing our knowledge on the cell-to-cell transmissions might provide new insights into mechanism of disease onset and progression and identify novel strategies for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention in Parkinson and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Exosomes; Parkinson’s disease; α-synuclein; LRRK2; neuronal degeneration
The ROCO proteins are a family of large, multidomain proteins characterised by the presence of a Ras of complex proteins (ROC) domain followed by a COR, or C-terminal of ROC, domain. It has previously been shown that the ROC domain of the human ROCO protein Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) controls its kinase activity. Here, the ability of the ROC domain of another human ROCO protein, Death Associated Protein Kinase 1 (DAPK1), to bind GTP and control its kinase activity has been evaluated. In contrast to LRRK2, loss of GTP binding by DAPK1 does not result in loss of kinase activity, instead acting to modulate this activity. These data highlight the ROC domain of DAPK1 as a target for modifiers of this proteins function, and casts light on the role of ROC domains as intramolecular regulators in complex proteins with implications for a broad range of human diseases.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 1 and 2 (LRRK1 and LRRK2) are large multidomain proteins containing kinase, GTPase and multiple protein-protein interaction domains, but only mutations in LRRK2 are linked to familial Parkinson's disease (PD). Independent studies suggest that LRRK2 exists in the cell as a complex compatible with the size of a dimer. However, whether this complex is truly a homodimer or a heterologous complex formed by monomeric LRRK2 with other proteins has not been definitively proven due to the limitations in obtaining highly pure proteins suitable for structural characterization. Here, we used stable expression of LRRK1 and LRRK2 in HEK293T cell lines to produce recombinant LRRK1 and LRRK2 proteins of greater than 90% purity. Both purified LRRKs are folded, with a predominantly alpha-helical secondary structure and are capable of binding GTP with similar affinity. Furthermore, recombinant LRRK2 exhibits robust autophosphorylation activity, phosphorylation of model peptides in vitro and ATP binding. In contrast, LRRK1 does not display significant autophosphorylation activity and fails to phosphorylate LRRK2 model substrates, although it does bind ATP. Using these biochemically validated proteins, we show that LRRK1 and LRRK2 are capable of forming homodimers as shown by single-particle transmission electron microscopy and immunogold labeling. These LRRK dimers display an elongated conformation with a mean particle size of 145 Å and 175 Å respectively, which is disrupted by addition of 6M guanidinium chloride. Immunogold staining revealed double-labeled particles also in the pathological LRRK2 mutant G2019S and artificial mutants disrupting GTPase and kinase activities, suggesting that point mutations do not hinder the dimeric conformation. Overall, our findings indicate for the first time that purified and active LRRK1 and LRRK2 can form dimers in their full-length conformation.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a large multidomain kinase/GTPase that has been recently linked to three pathological conditions: Parkinson’s disease; Crohn’s disease; and leprosy. Although LRRK2 physiological function is poorly understood, a potential role in inflammatory response is suggested by its high expression in immune cells and tissues, its up-regulation by interferon γ, and its function as negative regulator of the immune response transcription factor NFAT1. In this review we discuss the most recent findings regarding how LRRK2 could be a player in the inflammatory response and we propose a scenario where the detrimental effects mediated by Parkinson’s disease LRRK2 mutations may initiate in the periphery and extend to the central nervous system as a consequence of increased levels of pro-inflammatory factors permeable to the blood brain barrier.
Parkinson’s disease; Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2); Neuroinflammation; Cytokines
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are the most prevalent known cause of autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). The LRRK2 gene encodes a Roco protein featuring a ROC GTPase and a kinase domain linked by the C-terminal of ROC (COR) domain. Here, we explored the effects of the Y1699C pathogenic LRRK2 mutation in the COR domain on GTPase activity and interactions within the catalytic core of LRRK2. We observed a decrease in GTPase activity for LRRK2 Y1699C comparable to the decrease observed for the R1441C pathogenic mutant and the T1348N dysfunctional mutant. To study the underlying mechanism, we explored the dimerization in the catalytic core of LRRK2. ROC-COR dimerization was significantly weakened by the Y1699C or R1441C/G mutation. Using a competition assay we demonstrated that the intra-molecular ROC:COR interaction is favoured over ROC:ROC dimerization. Interestingly, the intra-molecular ROC:COR interaction was strengthened by the Y1699C mutation. This is supported by a 3D homology model of the ROC-COR tandem of LRRK2, showing that Y1699 is positioned at the intra-molecular ROC:COR interface. In conclusion, our data provides mechanistic insight into the mode of action of the Y1699C LRRK2 mutant: the Y1699C substitution, situated at the intra-molecular ROC:COR interface, strengthens the intra-molecular ROC:COR interaction, thereby locally weakening the dimerization of LRRK2 at the ROC-COR tandem domain resulting in decreased GTPase activity.
Parkinson's disease; leucine rich repeat kinase 2; GTPase; dimerization
Although Parkinson's disease (PD) is generally a sporadic neurological disorder, the discovery of monogenic, hereditable forms of the disease has been crucial in delineating the molecular pathways that lead to this pathology. Genes responsible for familial PD can be ascribed to two categories based both on their mode of inheritance and their suggested biological function. Mutations in parkin, PINK1 and DJ-1 cause of recessive Parkinsonism, with a variable pathology often lacking the characteristic Lewy bodies (LBs) in the surviving neurons. Intriguingly, recent findings highlight a converging role of all these genes in mitochondria function, suggesting a common molecular pathway for recessive Parkinsonism. Mutations in a second group of genes, encoding alpha-synuclein (α-syn) and LRRK2, are transmitted in a dominant fashion and generally lead to LB pathology, with α-syn being the major component of these proteinaceous aggregates. In experimental systems, overexpression of mutant proteins is toxic, as predicted for dominant mutations, but the normal function of both proteins is still elusive. The fact that α-syn is heavily phosphorylated in LBs and that LRRK2 is a protein kinase, suggests that a link, not necessarily direct, exists between the two. What are the experimental data supporting a common molecular pathway for dominant PD genes? Do α-syn and LRRK2 target common molecules? Does LRRK2 act upstream of α-syn? In this review we will try to address these of questions based on the recent findings available in the literature.
LRRK2 is a 250kDa multidomain protein, mutations in which cause familial Parkinson’s disease. Previously, we have demonstrated that the R1441C mutation in the ROC domain decreases GTPase activity. Here we show that the R1441C alters the folding properties of the ROC domain, lowering its thermodynamic stability. Similar to small GTPases, binding of different guanosine nucleotides alters the stability of the ROC domain, suggesting that there is an alteration in conformation dependent on GDP or GTP occupying the active site. GTP/GDP bound state also alters the self-interaction of the ROC domain, accentuating the impact of the R1441C mutation on this property. These data suggest a mechanism whereby the R1441C mutation can reduce the GTPase activity of LRRK2, and highlights the possibility of targeting the stability of the ROC domain as a therapeutic avenue in LRRK2 disease.
LRRK2; ROCO protein; GTPase; Parkinson’s disease; differential scanning fluorimetry; circular dichroism
Mutations in Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are a common cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease (PD). The protein is large and complex, but pathogenic mutations cluster in a region containing GTPase and kinase domains. LRRK2 can autophosphorylate in vitro within a dimer pair, although the significance of this reaction is unclear. Here, we mapped the sites of autophosphorylation within LRRK2 and found several potential phosphorylation sites within the GTPase domain. Using mass spectrometry, we found that Thr1343 is phosphorylated and, using kinase dead versions of LRRK2, show that this is an autophosphorylation site. However, we also find evidence for additional sites in the GTPase domain and in other regions of the protein suggesting that there may be multiple autophosphorylation sites within LRRK2. These data suggest that the kinase and GTPase activities of LRRK2 may exhibit complex autoregulatory interdependence.
Parkinson’s disease; kinase; GTPase; autophosphorylation
Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are prevalent causes of late-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here, we show that LRRK2 binds to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinases MKK3, 6, and 7, and that LRRK2 is able to phosphorylate MKK3, 6 and 7. Over-expression of LRRK2 and MKK6 increased the steady state levels of each protein beyond that observed with over-expression of either protein alone. Co-expression increased levels of MKK6 in the membrane more than in the cytoplasm. The increased expression of LRRK2 and MKK6 requires MKK6 activity. The disease-linked LRRK2 mutations, G2019S, R1441C and I2020T, enhance binding of LRRK2 to MKK6. This interaction was further supported by in vivo studies in C. elegans. RNAi knockdown in C. elegans of the endogenous orthologs for MKK6 or p38, sek-1 and pmk-1, abolishes LRRK2-mediated protection against mitochondrial stress. These results were confirmed by deletion of sek-1 in C. elegans. These data demonstrate that MKKs and LRRK2 function in similar biological pathways, and support a role for LRRK2 in modulating the cellular stress response.
MAP kinase; phosphorylation; C. elegans; JNK; p38; membrane
Oxidative stress has been proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). A plausible source of oxidative stress in nigral dopaminergic neurons is the redox reactions that specifically involve dopamine and produce various toxic molecules, i.e., free radicals and quinone species. α-Synuclein, a protein found in Lewy bodies characteristic of PD, is also thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of PD and point mutations and multiplications in the gene coding for α-synuclein have been found in familial forms of PD.
We used dopaminergic human neuroblastoma BE(2)-M17 cell lines stably transfected with WT or A30P mutant α-synuclein to characterize the effect of α-synuclein on dopamine toxicity. Cellular toxicity was analyzed by lactate dehydrogenase assay and by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. Increased expression of either wild-type or mutant α-synuclein enhances the cellular toxicity induced by the accumulation of intracellular dopamine or DOPA.
Our results suggest that an interplay between dopamine and α-synuclein can cause cell death in a neuron-like background. The data presented here are compatible with several models of cytotoxicity, including the formation of α-synuclein oligomers and impairment of the lysosomal degradation.
Mutations in the gene encoding Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common cause of inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a multi-domain protein kinase containing a central catalytic core and a number of protein-protein interaction domains. An important step forward in the understanding of both the biology and the pathology of LRRK2 would be achieved by identification of its authentic physiological substrates. In the present study we examined phosphorylation of 4E-BP (eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein), a recently proposed substrate for LRRKs. We found that LRRK2 is capable of phosphorylating 4E-BP in vitro. The PD related LRRK2-G2019S mutant was ∼2 fold more active than wild type protein. However, LRRK2 autophosphorylation was stronger than 4E-BP phosphorylation under conditions of molar excess of 4E-BP to LRRK2. We also tested three other kinases (STK3, MAPK14/p38α and DAPK2) and found that MAPK14/p38α could efficiently phosphorylate 4E-BP at the same site as LRRK2 in vitro. Finally, we did not see changes in 4E-BP phosphorylation levels using inducible expression of LRRK2 in HEK cell lines. We also found that MAPK14/p38α phosphorylates 4E-BP in transient overexpression experiments whereas LRRK2 did not. We suggest that increased 4E-BP phosphorylation reported in some systems may be related to p38-mediated cell stress rather than direct LRRK2 activity. Overall, our results suggest that 4E-BP is a relatively poor direct substrate for LRRK2.
Mutations in the gene encoding LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2) were first identified in 2004 and have since been shown to be the single most common cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease. The protein is a large GTP-regulated serine/threonine kinase that additionally contains several protein–protein interaction domains. In the present review, we discuss three important, but unresolved, questions concerning LRRK2. We first ask: what is the normal function of LRRK2? Related to this, we discuss the evidence of LRRK2 activity as a GTPase and as a kinase and the available data on protein–protein interactions. Next we raise the question of how mutations affect LRRK2 function, focusing on some slightly controversial results related to the kinase activity of the protein in a variety of in vitro systems. Finally, we discuss what the possible mechanisms are for LRRK2-mediated neurotoxicity, in the context of known activities of the protein.
GTPase; leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2); Lewy body; neurotoxicity; Parkinson’s disease; COR, C-terminal of ROC (Ras of complex proteins); DAPK1, death-associated protein kinase 1; eIF4E, eukaryotic initiation factor 4E; 4E-BP, eIF4E-binding protein; ERM, ezrin/radixin/moesin; FADD, Fas-associated death domain; LRRK1/2, leucine-rich repeat kinase 1/2; dLRRK, Drosophila LRRK homologue; MBP, myelin basic protein; MLK, mixed lineage kinase; PD, Parkinson’s disease; ROC, Ras of complex proteins
Parkinson’s disease (PD), a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, and resting tremor, is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder. Although the majority of PD cases are sporadic, some are inherited, including those caused by leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutations. The substitution of serine for glycine at position 2019 (G2019S) in the kinase domain of LRRK2 represents the most prevalent genetic mutation in both familial and apparently sporadic cases of PD. Because mutations in LRRK2 are likely associated with a toxic gain of function, destabilization of LRRK2 may be a novel way to limit its detrimental effects. Here we show that LRRK2 forms a complex with heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in vivo and that inhibition of Hsp90 disrupts the association of Hsp90 with LRRK2 and leads to proteasomal degradation of LRRK2. Hsp90 inhibitors may therefore limit the mutant LRRK2-elicited toxicity to neurons. As a proof of principle, we show that Hsp90 inhibitors rescue the axon growth retardation caused by overexpression of the LRRK2 G2019S mutation in neurons. Therefore, inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity can be achieved by blocking Hsp90-mediated chaperone activity and Hsp90 inhibitors may serve as potential anti-PD drugs.
Hsp90; LRRK2; G2019S; Parkinson’s disease; protein degradation; chaperone
Mutations in Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the leading genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease (PD). LRRK2 is predicted to contain kinase and GTPase enzymatic domains, with recent evidence suggesting that the kinase activity of LRRK2 is central to the pathogenic process associated with this protein. The GTPase domain of LRRK2 plays an important role in the regulation of kinase activity. To investigate the how the GTPase domain might be related to disease, we examined the GTP binding and hydrolysis properties of wild type and a mutant LRRK2. We show that LRRK2 immunoprecipitated from cells has a detectable GTPase activity that is disrupted by a familial mutation associated with PD located within the GTPase domain, R1441C.
LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; GTPase; kinase
A new locus for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) has recently been ascribed to chromosome 9p.
We identified chromosome 9p segregating haplotypes within two families with ALS-FTD (F476 and F2) and undertook mutational screening of candidate genes within this locus.
Candidate gene sequencing at this locus revealed the presence of a disease segregating stop mutation (Q342X) in the intraflagellar transport 74 (IFT74) gene in family 476 (F476), but no mutation was detected within IFT74 in family 2 (F2). While neither family was sufficiently informative to definitively implicate or exclude IFT74 mutations as a cause of chromosome 9-linked ALS-FTD, the nature of the mutation observed within F476 (predicted to truncate the protein by 258 amino acids) led us to sequence the open reading frame of this gene in a large number of ALS and FTD cases (n = 420). An additional sequence variant (G58D) was found in a case of sporadic semantic dementia. I55L sequence variants were found in three other unrelated affected individuals, but this was also found in a single individual among 800 Human Diversity Gene Panel samples.
Confirmation of the pathogenicity of IFT74 sequence variants will require screening of other chromosome 9p-linked families.