The leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 mutation G2019S in the kinase-domain is the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease. To investigate the impact of the G2019S mutation on motor activity in vivo, a longitudinal phenotyping approach was developed in knock-in (KI) mice bearing this kinase-enhancing mutation. Two cohorts of G2019S KI mice and wild-type littermates (WT) were subjected to behavioral tests, specific for akinesia, bradykinesia and overall gait ability, at different ages (3, 6, 10, 15 and 19 months). The motor performance of G2019S KI mice remained stable up to the age of 19 months and did not show the typical age-related decline in immobility time and stepping activity of WT. Several lines of evidence suggest that enhanced LRRK2 kinase activity is the main contributor to the observed hyperkinetic phenotype of G2019S KI mice: i) KI mice carrying a LRRK2 kinase-dead mutation (D1994S KD) showed a similar progressive motor decline as WT; ii) two LRRK2 kinase inhibitors, H-1152 and Nov-LRRK2-11, acutely reversed the hyperkinetic phenotype of G2019S KI mice, while being ineffective in WT or D1994S KD animals. LRRK2 target engagement in vivo was further substantiated by reduction of LRRK2 phosphorylation at Ser935 in the striatum and cortex at efficacious doses of Nov-LRRK2-11, and in the striatum at efficacious doses of H-1152. In summary, expression of the G2019S mutation in the mouse LRRK2 gene confers a hyperkinetic phenotype that is resistant to age-related motor decline, likely via enhancement of LRRK2 kinase activity. This study provides an in vivo model to investigate the effects of LRRK2 inhibitors on motor function.
•The LRRK2 G2019S mutation confers a hyperkinetic phenotype.•The LRRK2 D1994S kinase-dead mutation does not affect motor phenotype.•The LRRK2 kinase inhibitors reverse motor phenotype of G2019S mice.•The LRRK2 kinase inhibitors inhibit LRRK2 phosphorylation at Ser935 ex-vivo.
BAC, bacterial artificial chromosome; DA, dopamine; KI, knock-in; KD, kinase dead; LRRK2, leucine-rich repeat kinase 2; PD, Parkinson's disease; ROC, Ras Of Complex; WT, wild-type; Aging; D1994S knock-in; G2019S knock-in; H-1152; LRRK2 kinase-dead; LRRK2; LRRK2 kinase inhibitors; Nov-LRRK2-11; Parkinson's disease; Ser935 phosphorylation
Ras of complex proteins (ROC) domains were identified in 2003 as GTP binding modules in large multidomain proteins from Dictyostelium discoideum. Research into the function of these domains exploded with their identification in a number of proteins linked to human disease, including leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) and death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) in Parkinson’s disease and cancer, respectively. This surge in research has resulted in a growing body of data revealing the role that ROC domains play in regulating protein function and signaling pathways. In this review, recent advances in the structural information available for proteins containing ROC domains, along with insights into enzymatic function and the integration of ROC domains as molecular switches in a cellular and organismal context, are explored.
Ras of complex protein domains are GTP binding domains found in the ROCO family of proteins. Civiero et al. summarize recent advances in our understanding of the biology of these domains and efforts to target them in human disease
It is now well established that chronic inflammation is a prominent feature of several neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Growing evidence indicates that neuroinflammation can contribute greatly to dopaminergic neuron degeneration and progression of the disease. Recent literature highlights that leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), a kinase mutated in both autosomal-dominantly inherited and sporadic PD cases, modulates inflammation in response to different pathological stimuli. In this review, we outline the state of the art of LRRK2 functions in microglia cells and in neuroinflammation. Furthermore, we discuss the potential role of LRRK2 in cytoskeleton remodeling and vesicle trafficking in microglia cells under physiological and pathological conditions. We also hypothesize that LRRK2 mutations might sensitize microglia cells toward a pro-inflammatory state, which in turn results in exacerbated inflammation with consequent neurodegeneration.
LRRK2; Neuroinflammation; Microglia; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; Dopaminergic neurons
Mutations in Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene (LRRK2) are associated with familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a complex protein that consists of multiple domains executing several functions, including GTP hydrolysis, kinase activity, and protein binding. Robust evidence suggests that LRRK2 acts at the synaptic site as a molecular hub connecting synaptic vesicles to cytoskeletal elements via a complex panel of protein-protein interactions. Here we investigated the impact of pharmacological inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity on synaptic function. Acute treatment with LRRK2 inhibitors reduced the frequency of spontaneous currents, the rate of synaptic vesicle trafficking and the release of neurotransmitter from isolated synaptosomes. The investigation of complementary models lacking LRRK2 expression allowed us to exclude potential off-side effects of kinase inhibitors on synaptic functions. Next we studied whether kinase inhibition affects LRRK2 heterologous interactions. We found that the binding among LRRK2, presynaptic proteins and synaptic vesicles is affected by kinase inhibition. Our results suggest that LRRK2 kinase activity influences synaptic vesicle release via modulation of LRRK2 macro-molecular complex.
LRRK2; kinase; presynaptic vesicle; synaptic activity; protein interaction
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.
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.