Kinase activity is required for the toxic effects of mutant LRRK2/dardarin

Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Aug;23(2):329-41. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2006.04.001. Epub 2006 Jun 5.


Mutations in the LRRK2 gene, coding for dardarin, cause dominantly inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). Dardarin is a large protein, and mutations are found throughout the gene including the kinase domain. However, it is not clear if kinase activity is important for the damaging effects of pathogenic mutations. In this study, we noted two cellular phenotypes associated with mutant dardarin. First, pathogenic mutations increase the tendency of dardarin to form inclusion bodies. Secondly, neurons and neuronal cell lines undergo cell death after expression of mutant protein. Manipulating activity by replacing the kinase domain with a 'kinase-dead' version blocks inclusion body formation and strongly delays cell death. This predicts that kinase inhibitors will be useful therapeutic agents in patients with LRRK2 mutations and, perhaps, in sporadic PD. We also show that dardarin protein is expressed within human midbrain neurons and that C-terminal epitopes are also found in some Lewy bodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / pathology
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / genetics
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Mutation
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Complementary
  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases