Missense mutations in the Leucine-Rich Repeat protein Kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are the most common genetic predisposition to develop Parkinson's disease (PD) (Farrer et al., 2005; Skipper et al., 2005; Di Fonzo et al., 2006; Healy et al., 2008; Paisan-Ruiz et al., 2008; Lesage et al., 2010). LRRK2 is a large multi-domain phosphoprotein with a GTPase domain and a serine/threonine protein kinase domain whose activity is implicated in neuronal toxicity; however the precise mechanism is unknown. LRRK2 autophosphorylates on several serine/threonine residues across the enzyme and is found constitutively phosphorylated on Ser910, Ser935, Ser955, and Ser973, which are proposed to be regulated by upstream kinases. Here we investigate the phosphoregulation at these sites by analyzing the effects of disease-associated mutations Arg1441Cys, Arg1441Gly, Ala1442Pro, Tyr1699Cys, Ile2012Thr, Gly2019Ser, and Ile2020Thr. We also studied alanine substitutions of phosphosite serines 910, 935, 955, and 973 and specific LRRK2 inhibition on autophosphorylation of LRRK2 Ser1292, Thr1491, Thr2483 and phosphorylation at the cellular sites. We found that mutants in the Roc-COR domains, including Arg1441Cys, Arg1441His, Ala1442Pro, and Tyr1699Cys, can positively enhance LRRK2 kinase activity, while concomitantly inducing the dephosphorylation of the cellular sites. Mutation of the cellular sites individually did not affect LRRK2 intrinsic kinase activity; however, Ser910/935/955/973Ala mutations trended toward increased kinase activity of LRRK2. Increased cAMP levels did not lead to increased LRRK2 cellular site phosphorylation, 14-3-3 binding or kinase activity. In cells, inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity leads to dephosphorylation of Ser1292 by Calyculin A and Okadaic acid sensitive phosphatases, while the cellular sites are dephosphorylated by Calyculin A sensitive phosphatases. These findings indicate that comparative analysis of both Ser1292 and Ser910/935/955/973 phosphorylation sites will provide important and distinct measures of LRRK2 kinase and biological activity in vitro and in vivo.
Keywords: GTPase; LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; kinase; kinase inhibitor; phosphorylation.