[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes.
For example, a key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process including the amount and rate of cargo sequestered and degraded). In particular, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation must be differentiated from stimuli that increase autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. It is worth emphasizing here that lysosomal digestion is a stage of autophagy and evaluating its competence is a crucial part of the evaluation of autophagic flux, or complete autophagy.
Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. Along these lines, because of the potential for pleiotropic effects due to blocking autophagy through genetic manipulation, it is imperative to target by gene knockout or RNA interference more than one autophagy-related protein. In addition, some individual Atg proteins, or groups of proteins, are involved in other cellular pathways implying that not all Atg proteins can be used as a specific marker for an autophagic process. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We and others have described the neurodegenerative disorder caused by G51D SNCA mutation which shares characteristics of Parkinson's disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA). The objective of this investigation was to extend the description of the clinical and neuropathological hallmarks of G51D mutant SNCA-associated disease by the study of two additional cases from a further G51D SNCA kindred and to compare the features of this group with a SNCA duplication case and a H50Q SNCA mutation case.
All three G51D patients were clinically characterised by parkinsonism, dementia, visual hallucinations, autonomic dysfunction and pyramidal signs with variable age at disease onset and levodopa response. The H50Q SNCA mutation case had a clinical picture that mimicked late-onset idiopathic PD with a good and sustained levodopa response. The SNCA duplication case presented with a clinical phenotype of frontotemporal dementia with marked behavioural changes, pyramidal signs, postural hypotension and transiently levodopa responsive parkinsonism. Detailed post-mortem neuropathological analysis was performed in all cases. All three G51D cases had abundant α-synuclein pathology with characteristics of both PD and MSA. These included widespread cortical and subcortical neuronal α-synuclein inclusions together with small numbers of inclusions resembling glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs) in oligodendrocytes. In contrast the H50Q and SNCA duplication cases, had α-synuclein pathology resembling idiopathic PD without GCIs. Phosphorylated α-synuclein was present in all inclusions types in G51D cases but was more restricted in SNCA duplication and H50Q mutation. Inclusions were also immunoreactive for the 5G4 antibody indicating their highly aggregated and likely fibrillar state.
Our characterisation of the clinical and neuropathological features of the present small series of G51D SNCA mutation cases should aid the recognition of this clinico-pathological entity. The neuropathological features of these cases consistently share characteristics of PD and MSA and are distinct from PD patients carrying the H50Q or SNCA duplication.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Molecular Neurodegeneration
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a causative gene for Parkinson's disease but the physiological function and the mechanism(s) by which the cellular activity of LRRK2 is regulated are poorly understood. Here, we identified p21-activated kinase 6 (PAK6) as a novel interactor of the GTPase/ROC domain of LRRK2. PAKs are serine-threonine kinases that serve as targets for the small GTP binding proteins Cdc42 and Rac1 and have been implicated in different morphogenetic processes through remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton such as synapse formation and neuritogenesis. Using an in vivo neuromorphology assay, we show that PAK6 is a positive regulator of neurite outgrowth and that LRRK2 is required for this function. Analyses of post-mortem brain tissue from idiopathic and LRRK2 G2019S carriers reveal an increase in PAK6 activation state, whereas knock-out LRRK2 mice display reduced PAK6 activation and phosphorylation of PAK6 substrates. Taken together, these results support a critical role of LRRK2 GTPase domain in cytoskeletal dynamics in vivo through the novel interactor PAK6, and provide a valuable platform to unravel the mechanism underlying LRRK2-mediated pathophysiology.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Neurochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Combining genetic insights into the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) with findings from animal and cellular models of this disorder has advanced our understanding of the pathways that lead to the characteristic degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain's nigrostriatal pathway. This has fueled an increase in candidate compounds designed to modulate these pathways and to alter the processes underlying neuronal death in this disorder. Using mitochondrial quality control and the macroautophagy/lysosomal pathways as examples, we discuss the pipeline from a comprehensive genetic architecture for PD through to clinical trials for drugs targeting pathways linked to neurodegeneration in PD. We also identify opportunities and pitfalls on the road to a clinically effective disease-modifying treatment for this disease.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Science translational medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: LRRK2 was identified in 2004 as the causative protein product of the Parkinson’s disease locus designated PARK8. In the decade since then, genetic studies have revealed at least 6 dominant mutations in LRRK2 linked to Parkinson’s disease, alongside one associated with cancer. It is now well established that coding changes in LRRK2 are one of the most common causes of Parkinson’s. Genome-wide association studies (GWAs) have, more recently, reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) around the LRRK2 locus to be associated with risk of developing sporadic Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disorder. The functional research that has followed these genetic breakthroughs has generated an extensive literature regarding LRRK2 pathophysiology; however, there is still no consensus as to the biological function of LRRK2. To provide insight into the aspects of cell biology that are consistently related to LRRK2 activity, we analysed the plethora of candidate LRRK2 interactors available through the BioGRID and IntAct data repositories. We then performed GO terms enrichment for the LRRK2 interactome. We found that, in two different enrichment portals, the LRRK2 interactome was associated with terms referring to transport, cellular organization, vesicles and the cytoskeleton. We also verified that 21 of the LRRK2 interactors are genetically linked to risk for Parkinson’s disease or inflammatory bowel disorder. The implications of these findings are discussed, with particular regard to potential novel areas of investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Chemistry & Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene encoding leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are a common genetic cause of Parkinson disease, but the
mechanisms whereby LRRK2 is regulated are unknown. Phosphorylation of LRRK2 at Ser910/Ser935 mediates interaction with 14-3-3. Pharmacological inhibition of its kinase activity abolishes Ser910/Ser935 phosphorylation and 14-3-3 binding, and this effect is also mimicked by pathogenic mutations. However, physiological situations
where dephosphorylation occurs have not been defined. Here, we show that arsenite or H2O2-induced stresses promote loss of Ser910/Ser935 phosphorylation, which is reversed by phosphatase inhibition. Arsenite-induced dephosphorylation is accompanied by loss of
14-3-3 binding and is observed in wild type, G2019S, and kinase-dead D2017A LRRK2. Arsenite stress stimulates LRRK2 self-association
and association with protein phosphatase 1α, decreases kinase activity and GTP binding in vitro, and induces translocation of LRRK2 to centrosomes. Our data indicate that signaling events induced by arsenite and oxidative
stress may regulate LRRK2 function.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the vacuolar protein sorting 35 homolog (VPS35) gene at the PARK17 locus, encoding a key component of the retromer complex, were recently identified as a new cause of late-onset, autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we explore the pathogenic consequences of PD-associated mutations in VPS35 using a number of model systems. VPS35 exhibits a broad neuronal distribution throughout the rodent brain, including within the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. In the human brain, VPS35 protein levels and distribution are similar in tissues from control and PD subjects, and VPS35 is not associated with Lewy body pathology. The common D620N missense mutation in VPS35 does not compromise its protein stability or localization to endosomal and lysosomal vesicles, or the vesicular sorting of the retromer cargo, sortilin, SorLA and cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor, in rodent primary neurons or patient-derived human fibroblasts. In yeast we show that PD-linked VPS35 mutations are functional and can normally complement VPS35 null phenotypes suggesting that they do not result in a loss-of-function. In rat primary cortical cultures the overexpression of human VPS35 induces neuronal cell death and increases neuronal vulnerability to PD-relevant cellular stress. In a novel viral-mediated gene transfer rat model, the expression of D620N VPS35 induces the marked degeneration of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons and axonal pathology, a cardinal pathological hallmark of PD. Collectively, these studies establish that dominant VPS35 mutations lead to neurodegeneration in PD consistent with a gain-of-function mechanism, and support a key role for VPS35 in the development of PD.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 20 % of individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) report a positive family history. Yet, a large portion of causal and disease-modifying variants is still unknown. We used exome sequencing in two affected individuals from a family with late-onset PD to identify 15 potentially causal variants. Segregation analysis and frequency assessment in 862 PD cases and 1,014 ethnically matched controls highlighted variants in EEF1D and LRRK1 as the best candidates. Mutation screening of the coding regions of these genes in 862 cases and 1,014 controls revealed several novel non-synonymous variants in both genes in cases and controls. An in silico multi-model bioinformatics analysis was used to prioritize identified variants in LRRK1 for functional follow-up. However, protein expression, subcellular localization, and cell viability were not affected by the identified variants. Although it has yet to be proven conclusively that variants in LRRK1 are indeed causative of PD, our data strengthen a possible role for LRRK1 in addition to LRRK2 in the genetic underpinnings of PD but, at the same time, highlight the difficulties encountered in the study of rare variants identified by next-generation sequencing in diseases with autosomal dominant or complex patterns of inheritance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10048-013-0383-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human ROCO proteins are a family of multi-domain proteins sharing a conserved ROC-COR supra-domain. The family has four members: leucine-rich repeat kinase 1 (LRRK1), leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) and malignant fibrous histiocytoma amplified sequences with leucine-rich tandem repeats 1 (MASL1). Previous studies of LRRK1/2 and DAPK1 have shown that the ROC (Ras of complex proteins) domain can bind and hydrolyse GTP, but the cellular consequences of this activity are still unclear. Here, the first biochemical characterization of MASL1 and the impact of GTP binding on MASL1 complex formation are reported. The results demonstrate that MASL1, similar to other ROCO proteins, can bind guanosine nucleotides via its ROC domain. Furthermore, MASL1 exists in two distinct cellular complexes associated with heat shock protein 60, and the formation of a low molecular weight pool of MASL1 is modulated by GTP binding. Finally, loss of GTP enhances MASL1 toxicity in cells. Taken together, these data point to a central role for the ROC/GTPase domain of MASL1 in the regulation of its cellular function.
HSP60 and MASL1 physically interact by molecular sieving (View interaction) MASL1 physically interacts with HSP70 and HSP60 by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (View interaction) MASL1 physically interacts with HSP60 by anti tag coimmunoprecipitation (View interaction).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2004 it was first shown that mutations in LRRK2 can cause Parkinson's disease. This initial discovery was quickly followed by the observation that a single particular mutation is a relatively common cause of Parkinson's disease across varied populations. Further genetic investigation has revealed a variety of genetic ties to Parkinson's disease across this gene. These include common alleles with quite broad effects on risk, likely through both alterations at the protein sequence level, and in the context of expression. A great deal of functional characterization of LRRK2 and disease-causing mutations in this protein has occurred over the last 9 years, and considerable progress has been made. Particular attention has been paid to the kinase activity of LRRK2 as a therapeutic target, and while it is no means certain that this is viable target it is likely that this hypothesis will be tested in clinical trials sooner rather than later. We believe that the future goals for LRRK2 research are, while challenging, relatively clear and that the next 10 years of research promises to be perhaps more exciting than the last.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 = 2.56x10(-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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compelling evidence indicates that two autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease genes, PINK1 (PARK6) and Parkin (PARK2), cooperate to mediate the autophagic clearance of damaged mitochondria (mitophagy). Mutations in the F-box domain-containing protein Fbxo7 (encoded by PARK15) also cause early-onset autosomal recessive Parkinson's disease, by an unknown mechanism. Here we show that Fbxo7 participates in mitochondrial maintenance through direct interaction with PINK1 and Parkin and acts in Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Cells with reduced Fbxo7 expression showed deficiencies in translocation of Parkin to mitochondria, ubiquitination of mitofusin 1 and mitophagy. In Drosophila, ectopic overexpression of Fbxo7 rescued loss of Parkin, supporting a functional relationship between the two proteins. Parkinson's disease-causing mutations in Fbxo7 interfered with this process, emphasizing the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease pathogenesis.
No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Nature Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 understand their aetiology and identify specific target for disease modifying therapies in patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 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.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Neurobiology of Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The past decade has witnessed huge advances in our understanding of the genetics underlying Parkinson's disease. Identifying commonalities in the biological function of genes linked to Parkinson's provides an opportunity to elucidate pathways that lead to neuronal degeneration and eventually to disease. We propose that the genetic forms of Parkinson's disease largely associated with α-synuclein-positive neuropathology (SNCA, LRRK2, and GBA) are brought together by involvement in the autophagy/lysosomal pathway and that this represents a unifying pathway to disease in these cases.-Manzoni, C., Lewis, P. A. Dysfunction of the autophagy/lysosomal degradation pathway is a shared feature of the genetic synucleinopathies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the recent identification of two new pathogenic mutations in α-synuclein, we map the five known pathogenic mutations onto the best available models of the protein structure. We show that four of the five mutations map to a potential fold in the protein with the exception being the A30P mutation in which the substitution would be expected to have a profound effect on protein structure. We discuss this localisation in terms of the proposed mechanisms for mutation pathogenicity.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Neuroscience Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2) is a gene of unknown function that has been linked to a number a human diseases, including PD (Parkinson's disease), IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), leprosy and cancer. The papers from the LRRK2: Function and Dysfunction meeting in this issue of Biochemical Society Transactions explore our growing knowledge of LRRK2's normal function, the role that it plays in disease and emerging strategies to exploit LRRK2 as a therapeutic target.
Preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Biochemical Society Transactions