The identification of Parkinson's disease (PD)-associated genes has created a powerful platform to begin to understand and nominate pathophysiological disease mechanisms. Herein, we discuss the genetic and experimental evidence supporting endolysosomal dysfunction as a major pathway implicated in PD. Well-studied familial PD-linked gene products, including LRRK2, VPS35, and α-synuclein, demonstrate how disruption of different aspects of endolysosomal sorting pathways by disease-causing mutations may manifest into PD-like phenotypes in many disease models. Newly-identified PD-linked genes, including auxilin, synaptojanin-1 and Rab39b, as well as putative risk genes for idiopathic PD (endophilinA1, Rab29, GAK), further support endosomal sorting deficits as being central to PD. LRRK2 may represent a nexus by regulating many distinct features of endosomal sorting, potentially via phosphorylation of key endocytosis machinery (i.e., auxilin, synaptojanin-1, endoA1) and Rab GTPases (i.e., Rab29, Rab8A, Rab10) that function within these pathways. In turn, LRRK2 kinase activity is critically regulated by Rab29 at the Golgi complex and retromer-associated VPS35 at endosomes. Taken together, the known functions of PD-associated gene products, the impact of disease-linked mutations, and the emerging functional interactions between these proteins points to endosomal sorting pathways as a key point of convergence in the pathogenesis of PD.
Keywords: Auxilin; Endolysosomal sorting; Endophilin; GAK; LRRK2; Parkinson's disease; Rab GTPases; Synaptic vesicle endocytosis; Synaptojanin-1; VPS35; α-Synuclein.
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