Pathogenic LRRK2 mutations, through increased kinase activity, produce enlarged lysosomes with reduced degradative capacity and increase ATP13A2 expression

Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Nov 1;24(21):6013-28. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddv314. Epub 2015 Aug 6.


Lysosomal dysfunction plays a central role in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). Several genes linked to genetic forms of PD, including leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), functionally converge on the lysosomal system. While mutations in LRRK2 are commonly associated with autosomal-dominant PD, the physiological and pathological functions of this kinase remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that LRRK2 regulates lysosome size, number and function in astrocytes, which endogenously express high levels of LRRK2. Expression of LRRK2 G2019S, the most common pathological mutation, produces enlarged lysosomes and diminishes the lysosomal capacity of these cells. Enlarged lysosomes appears to be a common phenotype associated with pathogenic LRRK2 mutations, as we also observed this effect in cells expressing other LRRK2 mutations; R1441C or Y1699C. The lysosomal defects associated with these mutations are dependent on both the catalytic activity of the kinase and autophosphorylation of LRRK2 at serine 1292. Further, we demonstrate that blocking LRRK2's kinase activity, with the potent and selective inhibitor PF-06447475, rescues the observed defects in lysosomal morphology and function. The present study also establishes that G2019S mutation leads to a reduction in lysosomal pH and increased expression of the lysosomal ATPase ATP13A2, a gene linked to a parkinsonian syndrome (Kufor-Rakeb syndrome), in brain samples from mouse and human LRRK2 G2019S carriers. Together, these results demonstrate that PD-associated LRRK2 mutations perturb lysosome function in a kinase-dependent manner, highlighting the therapeutic promise of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors in the treatment of PD.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Lysosomes / enzymology*
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / pathology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation*
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Up-Regulation


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Lrrk2 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • ATP13A2 protein, mouse
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases