[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) has been associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) and other disorders. However, its normal physiological functions and pathogenic properties remain elusive. Here we show that LRRK2 regulates the anterograde ER–Golgi transport through anchoring Sec16A at the endoplasmic reticulum exit sites (ERES). LRRK2 interacted and co-localized with Sec16A, a key protein in the formation of ERES. Lrrk2 depletion caused a dispersion of Sec16A from ERES and impaired ER export. In neurons, LRRK2 and Sec16A showed extensive co-localization at the dendritic ERES (dERES) that locally regulate the transport of proteins to the dendritic spines. A loss of Lrrk2 affected the association of Sec16A with dERES and impaired the activity-dependent targeting of glutamate receptors onto the cell/synapse surface. Furthermore, the PD-related LRRK2 R1441C missense mutation in the GTPase domain interfered with the interaction of LRRK2 with Sec16A and also affected ER–Golgi transport, while LRRK2 kinase activity was not required for these functions. Therefore, our findings reveal a new physiological function of LRRK2 in ER–Golgi transport, suggesting ERES dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis of PD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD), the most common degenerative movement disorder, is caused by a preferential loss of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons. Both α-synuclein (α-syn) missense and multiplication mutations have been linked to PD. However, the underlying intracellular signalling transduction pathways of α-syn-mediated mDA neurodegeneration remain elusive. Here, we show that transgenic expression of PD-related human α-syn A53T missense mutation promoted calcineurin (CN) activity and the subsequent nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) in mDA neurons. α-syn enhanced the phosphatase activity of CN in both cell-free assays and cell lines transfected with either human wild-type or A53T α-syn. Furthermore, over-expression of α-syn A53T mutation significantly increased the CN-dependent nuclear import of NFATc3 in the mDA neurons of transgenic mice. More importantly, a pharmacological inhibition of CN by cyclosporine A (CsA) ameliorated the α-syn-induced loss of mDA neurons. These findings demonstrate an active involvement of CN and NFAT-mediated signalling pathway in α-syn-mediated degeneration of mDA neurons in PD.
Human Molecular Genetics 07/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Subpopulations of dopaminergic (DA) neurons within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) display a differential vulnerability to loss in Parkinson's disease (PD); however, it is not clear why these subsets are preferentially selected in PD-associated neurodegeneration. In rodent SNpc, DA neurons can be divided into two subpopulations based on the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1A1). Here, we have shown that, in α-synuclein transgenic mice, a murine model of PD-related disease, DA neurodegeneration occurs mainly in a dorsomedial ALDH1A1-negative subpopulation that is also prone to cytotoxic aggregation of α-synuclein. Notably, the topographic ALDH1A1 pattern observed in α-synuclein transgenic mice was conserved in human SNpc. Postmortem evaluation of brains of patients with PD revealed a severe reduction of ALDH1A1 expression and neurodegeneration in the ventral ALDH1A1-positive DA subpopulations. ALDH1A1 expression was also suppressed in α-synuclein transgenic mice. Deletion of Aldh1a1 exacerbated α-synuclein-mediated DA neurodegeneration and α-synuclein aggregation, whereas Aldh1a1-null and control DA neurons were comparably susceptible to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-, glutamate-, or camptothecin-induced cell death. ALDH1A1 overexpression appeared to preferentially protect against α-synuclein-mediated DA neurodegeneration but did not rescue α-synuclein-induced loss of cortical neurons. Together, our findings suggest that ALDH1A1 protects subpopulations of SNpc DA neurons by preventing the accumulation of dopamine aldehyde intermediates and formation of cytotoxic α-synuclein oligomers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is enriched in the striatal projection neurons (SPNs). We found that LRRK2 negatively regulates protein kinase A (PKA) activity in the SPNs during synaptogenesis and in response to dopamine receptor Drd1 activation. LRRK2 interacted with PKA regulatory subunit IIβ (PKARIIβ). A lack of LRRK2 promoted the synaptic translocation of PKA and increased PKA-mediated phosphorylation of actin-disassembling enzyme cofilin and glutamate receptor GluR1, resulting in abnormal synaptogenesis and transmission in the developing SPNs. Furthermore, PKA-dependent phosphorylation of GluR1 was also aberrantly enhanced in the striatum of young and aged Lrrk2(-/-) mice after treatment with a Drd1 agonist. Notably, a Parkinson's disease-related Lrrk2 R1441C missense mutation that impaired the interaction of LRRK2 with PKARIIβ also induced excessive PKA activity in the SPNs. Our findings reveal a previously unknown regulatory role for LRRK2 in PKA signaling and suggest a pathogenic mechanism of SPN dysfunction in Parkinson's disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DJ-1 is a protein expressed in many tissues including the brain where it has been extensively studied due to its association with Parkinson's Disease (PD). DJ-1 was reported to function as an antioxidant, redox-sensitive molecular chaperone, and transcription regulator, which protected cells from oxidative stress by modifying signaling pathways that regulate cell survival. Here we discuss our progress toward characterization of the DJ-1 function in the protection of RPE to oxidative stress.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2014; 801:649-54. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The substitution of Proline with Serine at residue 56 (P56S) of vesicle-associated membrane protein associated protein B (VAPB) has been linked to an atypical autosomal dominant form of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS8). To investigate the pathogenic mechanism of P56S VAPB in ALS, we generated transgenic mice that heterologously express human wild type (WT) and P56S VAPB under the control of a pan-neuronal promoter Thy1.2. While WT VAPB transgenic mice did not exhibit any overt motor behavioral phenotypes, P56S VAPB transgenic mice developed progressive hyperactivities and other motor abnormalities. VAPB protein was accumulated as large punctae in the soma and proximal dendrites of both corticospinal motor neurons (CSMNs) and spinal motor neurons (SMNs) in P56S VAPB transgenic mice. Concomitantly, a significant increase of ER stress and unfolded protein response (UPR) as well as the resulting up-regulation of pro-apoptotic factor C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression were observed in the CSMNs and SMNs of P56S VAPB transgenic mice. However, only a progressive loss of CSMNs but not SMNs was found in P56S VAPB transgenic mice. In SMNs, P56S VAPB promoted a rather selective translocation of VAPB protein onto the postsynaptic site of C-boutons that altered the morphology of C-boutons and impaired the spontaneous rhythmic discharges of SMNs. Therefore, these findings provide new pathophysiological mechanisms of P56S VAPB that differentially affects the function and survival of CSMNs and SMNs in ALS8.
Human Molecular Genetics 06/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent genome wide association studies indicate that a simple alteration of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene expression may contribute to the etiology of sporadic Parkinson's Disease (PD). However, the expression and regulation of LRRK2 protein in the sporadic PD brains remain to be determined. Here, we found that the expression of LRRK2 protein was enhanced in the sporadic PD patients using the frontal cortex tissue from a set of 16 PD patients and 7 control samples. By contrast, no significant difference was detected in the level of LRRK2 mRNA expression between the control and PD cases, suggesting a potential post-transcriptional modification of LRRK2 protein expression in the sporadic PD brains. Indeed, it was identified that microRNA-205 (miR-205) suppressed the expression of LRRK2 protein through a conserved binding site at the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of LRRK2 gene. Interestingly, miR-205 expression was significantly down-regulated in the brains of patients with sporadic PD showing the enhanced LRRK2 protein levels. Also, in vitro studies in the cell lines and primary neuron cultures further established the role of miR-205 in modulating the expression of LRRK2 protein. In addition, introduction of miR-205 rescued the neurite outgrowth defects in the neurons expressing PD-related LRRK2 R1441G mutant. Together, these findings suggest that down-regulation of miR-205 may contribute to the potential pathogenic elevation of LRRK2 protein in the brains of patients with sporadic PD; while over-expression of miR-205 may provide an applicable therapeutic strategy to suppress the abnormal up-regulation of LRRK2 protein in PD.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/2012; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are strongly associated with late-onset autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. LRRK2 is highly expressed in immune cells and recent work points towards a link between LRRK2 and innate immunity. Here we demonstrate that stimulation of the Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) pathway by MyD88-dependent agonists in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) or RAW264.7 macrophages induces marked phosphorylation of LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935, the phosphorylation sites that regulate the binding of 14-3-3 to LRRK2. Phosphorylation of these residues is prevented by knock-out of MyD88 in BMDMs, but not the alternative TLR adaptor protein TRIF. Utilising both pharmacological inhibitors, including a new TAK1 inhibitor, NG25, and genetic models, we provide evidence that both the canonical (IKKα and IKKβ) and IKK-related (IKKε and TBK1) kinases mediate TLR agonist induced phosphorylation of LRRK2 in vivo. Moreover, all four IKK members directly phosphorylate LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935 in vitro. Consistent with previous work describing Ser910 and Ser935 as pharmacodynamic biomarkers of LRRK2 activity, we find that the TLR independent basal phosphorylation of LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935 is abolished following treatment of macrophages with LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. However, the increased phosphorylation of Ser910 and Ser935 induced by activation of the MyD88 pathway is insensitive to LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. Finally, employing LRRK2-deficient BMDMs, we present data indicating that LRRK2 does not play a major role in regulating the secretion of inflammatory cytokines induced by activation of the MyD88 pathway. Our findings provide the first direct link between LRRK2 and the IKKs that mediate many immune responses. Further work is required to uncover the physiological roles that phosphorylation of LRRK2 by IKKs play in controlling macrophage biology and to determine how phosphorylation of LRRK2 by IKKs impacts upon the use of Ser910 and Ser935 as pharmacodynamic biomarkers.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39132. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder. While neuronal deposition of alpha-synuclein serves as a pathological hallmark of PD and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, alpha-synuclein-positive protein aggregates are also present in astrocytes. The pathological consequence of astrocytic accumulation of alpha-synuclein, however, is unclear.
Here we show that PD-related A53T mutant alpha-synuclein, when selectively expressed in astrocytes, induced rapidly progressed paralysis in mice. Increasing accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates was found in presymptomatic and symptomatic mouse brains and correlated with the expansion of reactive astrogliosis. The normal function of astrocytes was compromised as evidenced by cerebral microhemorrhage and down-regulation of astrocytic glutamate transporters, which also led to increased inflammatory responses and microglial activation. Interestingly, the activation of microglia was mainly detected in the midbrain, brainstem and spinal cord, where a significant loss of dopaminergic and motor neurons was observed. Consistent with the activation of microglia, the expression level of cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) was significantly up-regulated in the brain of symptomatic mice and in cultured microglia treated with conditioned medium derived from astrocytes over-expressing A53T alpha-synuclein. Consequently, the suppression of COX-1 activities extended the survival of mutant mice, suggesting that excess inflammatory responses elicited by reactive astrocytes may contribute to the degeneration of neurons.
Our findings demonstrate a critical involvement of astrocytic alpha-synuclein in initiating the non-cell autonomous killing of neurons, suggesting the viability of reactive astrocytes and microglia as potential therapeutic targets for PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in alpha-synuclein and Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are linked to autosomal dominant forms of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about any potential pathophysiological interplay between these two PD-related genes. Here we show in transgenic mice that although overexpression of LRRK2 alone did not cause neurodegeneration, the presence of excess LRRK2 greatly accelerated the progression of neuropathological abnormalities developed in PD-related A53T alpha-synuclein transgenic mice. Moreover, we found that LRRK2 promoted the abnormal aggregation and somatic accumulation of alpha-synuclein in A53T mice, which likely resulted from the impairment of microtubule dynamics, Golgi organization, and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Conversely, genetic ablation of LRRK2 preserved the Golgi structure and suppressed the aggregation and somatic accumulation of alpha-synuclein, and thereby delayed the progression of neuropathology in A53T mice. These findings demonstrate that overexpression of LRRK2 enhances alpha-synuclein-mediated cytotoxicity and suggest inhibition of LRRK2 expression as a potential therapeutic option for ameliorating alpha-synuclein-induced neurodegeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) functions as a putative protein kinase of ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM) family proteins. A Parkinson's disease-related G2019S substitution in the kinase domain of LRRK2 further enhances the phosphorylation of ERM proteins. The phosphorylated ERM (pERM) proteins are restricted to the filopodia of growing neurites in which they tether filamentous actin (F-actin) to the cytoplasmic membrane and regulate the dynamics of filopodia protrusion. Here, we show that, in cultured neurons derived from LRRK2 G2019S transgenic mice, the number of pERM-positive and F-actin-enriched filopodia was significantly increased, and this correlates with the retardation of neurite outgrowth. Conversely, deletion of LRRK2, which lowered the pERM and F-actin contents in filopodia, promoted neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, inhibition of ERM phosphorylation or actin polymerization rescued the G2019S-dependent neuronal growth defects. These data support a model in which the G2019S mutation of LRRK2 causes a gain-of-function effect that perturbs the homeostasis of pERM and F-actin in sprouting neurites critical for neuronal morphogenesis.
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2009; 29(44):13971-80. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysfunction of alsin, particularly its putative Rab5 guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor activity, has been linked to one form of juvenile onset recessive familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2). Multiple lines of alsin knockout (ALS2(-/-)) mice have been generated to model this disease. However, it remains elusive whether the Rab5-dependent endocytosis is altered in ALS2(-/-) neurons. To directly examine the Rab5-mediated endosomal trafficking in ALS2(-/-) neurons, we introduced green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Rab5 into cultured hippocampal neurons to monitor the morphology and motility of Rab5-associated early endosomes. Here we report that Rab5-mediated endocytosis was severely altered in ALS2(-/-) neurons. Excessive accumulation of Rab5-positive vesicles was observed in ALS2(-/-) neurons, which correlated with a significant reduction in endosomal motility and augmentation in endosomal conversion to lysosomes. Consequently, a significant increase in endosome/lysosome-dependent degradation of internalized glutamate receptors was observed in ALS2(-/-) neurons. These phenotypes closely resembled the endosomal trafficking abnormalities induced by a constitutively active form of Rab5 in wild-type neurons. Therefore, our findings reveal a negatively regulatory mechanism of alsin in Rab5-mediated endosomal trafficking, suggesting that enhanced endosomal degradation in ALS2(-/-) neurons may underlie the pathogenesis of motor neuron degeneration in ALS2 and related motor neuron diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a major neurodegenerative condition with several rare Mendelian forms. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial function have been implicated in the pathogenesis of PD but the molecular mechanisms involved in the degeneration of neurons remain unclear. DJ-1 mutations are one cause of recessive parkinsonism, but this gene is also reported to be involved in cancer by promoting Ras signaling and suppressing PTEN-induced apoptosis. The specific function of DJ-1 is unknown, although it is responsive to oxidative stress and may play a role in the maintenance of mitochondria. Here, we show, using four independent methods, that DJ-1 associates with RNA targets in cells and the brain, including mitochondrial genes, genes involved in glutathione metabolism, and members of the PTEN/PI3K cascade. Pathogenic recessive mutants are deficient in this activity. We show that DJ-1 is sufficient for RNA binding at nanomolar concentrations. Further, we show that DJ-1 binds RNA but dissociates after oxidative stress. These data implicate a single mechanism for the pleiotropic effects of DJ-1 in different model systems, namely that the protein binds multiple RNA targets in an oxidation-dependent manner.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2008; 105(29):10244-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2008; 28(13):3384-91. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: beta-Site APP cleavage enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the beta-secretase responsible for generating amyloid-beta (A beta) peptides in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previous studies suggest that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) modulates the beta-secretase-mediated cleavage of APP and reduces the production of A beta. The mechanism of PKC-mediated modulation of beta-secretase activity, however, remains elusive. We report here that activation of PKC modulated beta-secretase activity through either suppressing the accumulation or promoting the translocation of BACE1 protein in a cell type-dependent manner. We found that activation of PKC suppressed the accumulation of BACE1 protein in fibroblasts through an enhancement of intracellular protease activities. In neurons, activation of PKC did not alter the expression level of BACE1, but led to more BACE1 translocated to the cell surface, resulting in a decreased cleavage of APP at the beta1 site. Together, Our findings provide novel mechanisms of PKC-mediated modulation of beta-secretase activity, suggesting that alteration of the intracellular trafficking of BACE1 may serve as a useful therapeutic strategy to lower the production of A beta in AD.
Neurobiology of aging 04/2008; 29(3):357-67. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive mutations in the ALS2 gene have been linked to juvenile-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2), primary lateral sclerosis and juvenile-onset ascending hereditary spastic paraplegia. Except for two recently identified missense mutations, all other mutations in the ALS2 gene lead to a premature stop codon and likely abrogate all the potential functions of alsin, the protein encoded by the ALS2 gene. To study the pathologic mechanisms of ALS2 deficiency, four different lines of ALS2 knockout (ALS2(-/-)) mice have been generated by independent groups. The loss of ALS2/alsin does not have a drastic effect on the survival or function of motor neurons in mice. However, subtle deficits observed in the behavior and pathology of these mice have aided in our understanding of the relationship between alsin and motor neuron dysfunction. In this review, we summarize and reconcile major findings of ALS2(-/-) mice and attempt to place these results within the larger context of modeling recessive movement disorders in mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One form of juvenile onset autosomal recessive amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2) has been linked to the dysfunction of the ALS2 gene. The ALS2 gene is expressed in lymphoblasts, however, whether ALS2-deficiency affects periphery blood is unclear. Here we report that ALS2 knockout (ALS2(-/-)) mice developed peripheral lymphopenia but had higher proportions of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in which the stem cell factor-induced cell proliferation was up-regulated. Our findings reveal a novel function of the ALS2 gene in the lymphopoiesis and hematopoiesis, suggesting that the immune system is involved in the pathogenesis of ALS2.
Journal of Neuroimmunology 02/2007; 182(1-2):226-31. · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease is caused by a selective loss of motor neurons. One form of juvenile onset autosomal recessive ALS (ALS2) has been linked to the loss of function of the ALS2 gene. The pathogenic mechanism of ALS2-deficiency, however, remains unclear. To further understand the function of alsin that is encoded by the full-length ALS2 gene, we screened proteins interacting with alsin. Here, we report that alsin interacted with glutamate receptor interacting protein 1 (GRIP1) both in vitro and in vivo, and colocalized with GRIP1 in neurons. In support of the physiological interaction between alsin and GRIP1, the subcellular distribution of GRIP1 was altered in ALS2(-/-) spinal motor neurons, which correlates with a significant reduction of AMPA-type glutamate receptor subunit 2 (GluR2) at the synaptic/cell surface of ALS2(-/-) neurons. The decrease of calcium-impermeable GluR2-containing AMPA receptors at the cell/synaptic surface rendered ALS2(-/-) neurons more susceptible to glutamate receptor-mediated neurotoxicity. Our findings reveal a novel function of alsin in AMPA receptor trafficking and provide a novel pathogenic link between ALS2-deficiency and motor neuron degeneration, suggesting a protective role of alsin in maintaining the survival of motor neurons.
Journal of Neuroscience 12/2006; 26(45):11798-806. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common motor neuron disease, is caused by a selective loss of motor neurons in the CNS. Mutations in the ALS2 gene have been linked to one form of autosomal recessive juvenile onset ALS (ALS2). To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of ALS2, we generated ALS2 knock-out (ALS2(-/-)) mice. Although ALS2(-/-) mice lacked obvious developmental abnormalities, they exhibited age-dependent deficits in motor coordination and motor learning. Moreover, ALS2(-/-) mice showed a higher anxiety response in the open-field and elevated plus-maze tasks. Although they failed to recapitulate clinical or neuropathological phenotypes consistent with motor neuron disease by 20 months of age, ALS2(-/-) mice or primary cultured neurons derived from these mice were more susceptible to oxidative stress compared with wild-type controls. These observations suggest that loss of ALS2 function is insufficient to cause major motor deficits or motor neuron degeneration in a mouse model but predisposes neurons to oxidative stress.
Journal of Neuroscience 09/2005; 25(33):7567-74. · 6.91 Impact Factor