Background: Dominant mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease, however, the underlying pathogenic mechanisms are poorly understood. Several in vitro studies have shown that the most frequent mutation, LRRK2(G2019S), increases kinase activity and impairs neuronal survival. LRRK2 has been linked to the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase family and the receptor-interacting protein kinases based on sequence similarity within the kinase domain and in vitro substrate phosphorylation.
Methodology/principal findings: We used an unbiased proteomic approach to identify the kinase signaling pathways wherein LRRK2 may be active. By incubation of protein microarrays containing 260 signal transduction proteins we detected four arrayed Ste20 serine/threonine kinase family members (TAOK3, STK3, STK24, STK25) as novel LRRK2 substrates and LRRK2 interacting proteins, respectively. Moreover, we found that protein kinase C (PKC) zeta binds and phosphorylates LRRK2 both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions/significance: Ste20 kinases and PKC zeta contribute to neuronal Tau phosphorylation, neurite outgrowth and synaptic plasticity under physiological conditions. Our data suggest that these kinases may also be involved in synaptic dysfunction and neurite fragmentation in transgenic mice and in human PD patients carrying toxic gain-of-function LRRK2 mutations.