Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 binds to neuronal vesicles through protein interactions mediated by its C-terminal WD40 domain

Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Jun;34(12):2147-61. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00914-13. Epub 2014 Mar 31.


Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene (LRRK2) are associated with familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a complex protein that consists of multiple domains, including predicted C-terminal WD40 repeats. In this study, we analyzed functional and molecular features conferred by the WD40 domain. Electron microscopic analysis of the purified LRRK2 C-terminal domain revealed doughnut-shaped particles, providing experimental evidence for its WD40 fold. We demonstrate that LRRK2 WD40 binds and sequesters synaptic vesicles via interaction with vesicle-associated proteins. In fact, a domain-based pulldown approach combined with mass spectrometric analysis identified LRRK2 as being part of a highly specific protein network involved in synaptic vesicle trafficking. In addition, we found that a C-terminal sequence variant associated with an increased risk of developing PD, G2385R, correlates with a reduced binding affinity of LRRK2 WD40 to synaptic vesicles. Our data demonstrate a critical role of the WD40 domain within LRRK2 function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutant Proteins / chemistry
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Neurotoxins / toxicity
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / chemistry*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / ultrastructure
  • Receptors for Activated C Kinase
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Mutant Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Neurotoxins
  • RACK1 protein, mouse
  • Receptors for Activated C Kinase
  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases

Associated data

  • PDB/3DM0