Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is one of the most important genetic contributors to Parkinson's disease. LRRK2 has been implicated in a number of cellular processes, including macroautophagy. To test whether LRRK2 has a role in regulating autophagy, a specific inhibitor of the kinase activity of LRRK2 was applied to human neuroglioma cells and downstream readouts of autophagy examined. The resulting data demonstrate that inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity stimulates macroautophagy in the absence of any alteration in the translational targets of mTORC1, suggesting that LRRK2 regulates autophagic vesicle formation independent of canonical mTORC1 signaling. This study represents the first pharmacological dissection of the role LRRK2 plays in the autophagy/lysosomal pathway, emphasizing the importance of this pathway as a marker for LRRK2 physiological function. Moreover it highlights the need to dissect autophagy and lysosomal activities in the context of LRRK2 related pathologies with the final aim of understanding their aetiology and identifying specific targets for disease modifying therapies in patients.
•Inhibiting the kinase activity of LRRK2 induces autophagy•This induction is independent of an impact on the translational targets of mTORC1•Inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity results in a translation dependent increase in p62 levels
LRRK2, Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2; mTOR, Mammalian target of rapamycin; ROC, Ras of Complex Proteins; COR, C-terminal of ROC domain; SDS, Sodium dodecyl sulphate; EDTA, Ethylene di-ammonium tetra acetic acid; DPBS, Dulbecco's phosphate buffered saline; DMSO, Dimethylsulfoxide; LRRK2; Macroautophagy; Parkinson's disease; LC3; p62; WIPI2
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutation is the most common cause of genetic-related parkinsonism and is usually associated with Lewy body pathology; however, tau, α-synuclein, and ubiquitin pathologies have also been reported. We report the case of a patient carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation and a novel heterozygous variant c.370C>G, p.Q124E in exon 4 of the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT). The patient developed parkinsonism with good levodopa response in her 70s. Neuropathological analysis revealed nigral degeneration and Alzheimer-type tau pathology without Lewy bodies. Immunohistochemical staining using phospho-TDP-43 antibodies identified occasional TDP-43 pathology in the hippocampus, temporal neocortex, striatum, and substantia nigra. However, TDP-43 pathology was not identified in another 4 archival LRRK2 G2019S cases with Lewy body pathology available in the Queen Square Brain Bank. Among other published cases of patients carrying LRRK2 G2019S mutation, only 3 were reportedly evaluated for TDP-43 pathology, and the results were negative. The role of the MAPT variant in the clinical and pathological manifestation in LRRK2 cases remains to be determined.
LRRK2; MAPT; Parkinson's disease; TDP-43; tau
•Mutations in the ROC, COR and Kinase domain of LRRK2 alter the autophagic response to starvation.•LC3-I/II ratio following starvation is altered by mutations, as well as p62 and WIPI2 positive puncta.•This occurs independently of any alteration in downstream targets of mTORC1.
LRRK2 is one of the most important genetic contributors to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Point mutations in this gene cause an autosomal dominant form of PD, but to date no cellular phenotype has been consistently linked with mutations in each of the functional domains (ROC, COR and Kinase) of the protein product of this gene. In this study, primary fibroblasts from individuals carrying pathogenic mutations in the three central domains of LRRK2 were assessed for alterations in the autophagy/lysosomal pathway using a combination of biochemical and cellular approaches. Mutations in all three domains resulted in alterations in markers for autophagy/lysosomal function compared to wild type cells. These data highlight the autophagy and lysosomal pathways as read outs for pathogenic LRRK2 function and as a marker for disease, and provide insight into the mechanisms linking LRRK2 function and mutations.
LRRK2, leucine rich repeat kinase 2; ROC, ras of complex proteins; COR, C-terminal of ROC; PD, Parkinson’s disease; ICC, Immunocytochemistry; LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; Autophagy; Lysosomes; Signaling pathways
Mutations in LRRK2 are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). The most prevalent LRRK2 mutation is the G2019S coding change, located in the kinase domain of this complex multi-domain protein. The majority of G2019S autopsy cases feature typical Lewy Body pathology with a clinical phenotype almost indistinguishable from idiopathic PD (iPD). Here we have investigated the biochemical characteristics of α-synuclein in G2019S LRRK2 PD post-mortem material, in comparison to pathology-matched iPD. Immunohistochemistry with pS129 α-synuclein antibody showed that the medulla is heavily affected with pathology in G2019S PD whilst the basal ganglia (BG), limbic and frontal cortical regions demonstrated comparable pathology scores between G2019S PD and iPD. Significantly lower levels of the highly aggregated α-synuclein species in urea–SDS fractions were observed in G2019S cases compared to iPD in the BG and limbic cortex. Our data, albeit from a small number of cases, highlight a difference in the biochemical properties of aggregated α-synuclein in G2019S linked PD compared to iPD, despite a similar histopathological presentation. This divergence in solubility is most notable in the basal ganglia, a region that is affected preclinically and is damaged before overt dopaminergic cell death.
•We compared α-synuclein biochemistry from LRRK2 G2019S and idiopathic PD brains.•We used four G2019S PD post-mortem brains and pathology matched idiopathic PD cases.•G2019S PD and idiopathic PD cases show comparable Limbic stage Lewy Body pathology.•Minimal SDS-insoluble α-synuclein seen in G2019S PD in contrast to idiopathic PD•We propose a divergent nature of α-synuclein pathogenic species in G2019S PD.
LRRK2; G2019S; α-Synuclein; Differential solubility; Immunohistochemistry
Association studies have identified several signals at the LRRK2 locus for Parkinson's disease (PD), Crohn's disease (CD) and leprosy. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms mediating these effects. To further characterize this locus, we fine-mapped the risk association in 5,802 PD and 5,556 controls using a dense genotyping array (ImmunoChip). Using samples from 134 post-mortem control adult human brains (UK Human Brain Expression Consortium), where up to ten brain regions were available per individual, we studied the regional variation, splicing and regulation of LRRK2. We found convincing evidence for a common variant PD association located outside of the LRRK2 protein coding region (rs117762348, A>G, P = 2.56×10−8, case/control MAF 0.083/0.074, odds ratio 0.86 for the minor allele with 95% confidence interval [0.80–0.91]). We show that mRNA expression levels are highest in cortical regions and lowest in cerebellum. We find an exon quantitative trait locus (QTL) in brain samples that localizes to exons 32–33 and investigate the molecular basis of this eQTL using RNA-Seq data in n = 8 brain samples. The genotype underlying this eQTL is in strong linkage disequilibrium with the CD associated non-synonymous SNP rs3761863 (M2397T). We found two additional QTLs in liver and monocyte samples but none of these explained the common variant PD association at rs117762348. Our results characterize the LRRK2 locus, and highlight the importance and difficulties of fine-mapping and integration of multiple datasets to delineate pathogenic variants and thus develop an understanding of disease mechanisms.
Parkin E3 ubiquitin-ligase activity and its role in mitochondria homeostasis are thought to play a role in Parkinson's disease (PD). We now report that AF-6 is a novel parkin interacting protein that modulates parkin ubiquitin-ligase activity and mitochondrial roles. Parkin interacts with the AF-6 PDZ region through its C-terminus. This leads to ubiquitination of cytosolic AF-6 and its degradation by the proteasome. On the other hand, endogenous AF-6 robustly increases parkin translocation and ubiquitin-ligase activity at the mitochondria. Mitochondrial AF-6 is not a parkin substrate, but rather co-localizes with parkin and enhances mitochondria degradation through PINK1/parkin-mediated mitophagy. On the other hand, several parkin and PINK1 juvenile disease-mutants are insensitive to AF-6 effects. AF-6 is present in Lewy bodies and its soluble levels are strikingly decreased in the caudate/putamen and substantia nigra of sporadic PD patients, suggesting that decreased AF-6 levels may contribute to the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria in the disease. The identification of AF-6 as a positive modulator of parkin translocation to the mitochondria sheds light on the mechanisms involved in PD and underscores AF-6 as a novel target for future therapeutics.
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are a common cause of autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 encodes a multi-domain protein containing GTPase and kinase enzymatic domains. Disease-associated mutations in LRRK2 variably influence enzymatic activity with the common G2019S variant leading to enhanced kinase activity. Mutant LRRK2 induces neuronal toxicity through a kinase-dependent mechanism suggesting that kinase activity is important for mediating the pathogenic effects of LRRK2 mutations. A number of LRRK2 kinase substrates have been identified in vitro but whether they represent authentic physiological substrates in mammalian cells or tissues is not yet clear. The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein, 4E-BP1, was recently identified as a potential substrate of LRRK2 kinase activity in vitro and in Drosophila with phosphorylation occurring at Thr37 and Thr46. Here, we explore a potential interaction of LRRK2 and 4E-BP1 in mammalian cells and brain. We find that LRRK2 can weakly phosphorylate 4E-BP1 in vitro but LRRK2 overexpression is not able to alter endogenous 4E-BP1 phosphorylation in mammalian cells. In mammalian neurons LRRK2 and 4E-BP1 display minimal co-localization, whereas the subcellular distribution, protein complex formation and covalent post-translational modification of endogenous 4E-BP1 are not altered in the brains of LRRK2 knockout or mutant LRRK2 transgenic mice. In the brain, the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 at Thr37 and Thr46 does not change in LRRK2 knockout or mutant LRRK2 transgenic mice, nor is 4E-BP1 phosphorylation altered in idiopathic or G2019S mutant PD brains. Collectively, our results suggest that 4E-BP1 is neither a major nor robust physiological substrate of LRRK2 in mammalian cells or brain.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration are rare diseases characterized by ubiquitin-positive inclusions lacking transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 and tau. Recently, mutations in the fused in sarcoma gene have been shown to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal inclusions have subsequently been demonstrated in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions. Here we provide clinical, imaging, morphological findings, as well as genetic and biochemical data in 14 fused in sarcoma proteinopathy cases. In this cohort, the age of onset was variable but included cases of young-onset disease. Patients with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions all presented with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, while the clinical presentation in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease was more heterogeneous, including cases with motor neuron disease and extrapyramidal syndromes. Neuroimaging revealed atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes as well as the caudate in the cases with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions, but was more heterogeneous in the cases with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, often being normal to visual inspection early on in the disease. The distribution and severity of fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and neurites were recorded and fused in sarcoma was biochemically analysed in both subgroups. Fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions were found in the hippocampal granule cell layer in variable numbers. Cortical fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions were often ‘Pick body-like’ in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, and annular and crescent-shaped inclusions were seen in both conditions. Motor neurons contained variable numbers of compact, granular or skein-like cytoplasmic inclusions in all fused in sarcoma-positive cases in which brainstem and spinal cord motor neurons were available for study (five and four cases, respectively). No fused in sarcoma mutations were found in any cases. Biochemically, two major fused in sarcoma species were found and shown to be more insoluble in the atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions subgroup compared with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease. There is considerable overlap and also significant differences in fused in sarcoma-positive pathology between the two subgroups, suggesting they may represent a spectrum of the same disease. The co-existence of fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in both motor neurons and extramotor cerebral structures is a characteristic finding in sporadic fused in sarcoma proteinopathies, indicating a multisystem disorder.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS; clinical presentation; neuropathology; biochemistry
Point mutations in LRRK2 cause autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. Despite extensive efforts to determine the mechanism of cell death in patients with LRRK2 mutations, the aetiology of LRRK2 PD is not well understood. To examine possible alterations in gene expression linked to the presence of LRRK2 mutations, we carried out a case versus control analysis of global gene expression in three systems: fibroblasts isolated from LRRK2 mutation carriers and healthy, non-mutation carrying controls; brain tissue from G2019S mutation carriers and controls; and HEK293 inducible LRRK2 wild type and mutant cell lines. No significant alteration in gene expression was found in these systems following correction for multiple testing. These data suggest that any alterations in basal gene expression in fibroblasts or cell lines containing mutations in LRRK2 are likely to be quantitatively small. This work suggests that LRRK2 is unlikely to play a direct role in modulation of gene expression, although it remains possible that this protein can influence mRNA expression under pathogenic cicumstances.
Mutations in DJ-1 lead to a monogenic form of early onset recessive parkinsonism. DJ-1 can respond to oxidative stress, which has been proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis of sporadic Parkinson disease (PD). We have recently reported that DJ-1 interacts with mRNA in an oxidation dependent manner. Here, we confirm interaction of DJ-1 and RNA in human brain using immunoprecipitation followed by quantitative real time PCR. We confirmed previous reports that DJ-1 is more oxidized in cortex from cases of sporadic PD compared to controls. In the same samples, protein and RNA expression was measured for four DJ-1 target genes GPx4, MAPK8IP1, ND2 and ND5. While no alterations in mRNA expression were observed, an increase in protein expression was observed in PD cases for GPx4 and MAPK8IP1. In the same patients, we saw decreased mRNA and protein levels of two mitochondrial targets, ND2 and ND5. These results suggest that these proteins undergo regulation at the post-transcriptional level that may involve translational regulation by DJ-1.