Allosteric Inhibition of Parkinson's-Linked LRRK2 by Constrained Peptides

ACS Chem Biol. 2021 Nov 19;16(11):2326-2338. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.1c00487. Epub 2021 Sep 8.


Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a large, multidomain protein with dual kinase and GTPase function that is commonly mutated in both familial and idiopathic Parkinson's Disease (PD). While dimerization of LRRK2 is commonly detected in PD models, it remains unclear whether inhibition of dimerization can regulate catalytic activity and pathogenesis. Here, we show constrained peptides that are cell-penetrant, bind LRRK2, and inhibit LRRK2 activation by downregulating dimerization. We further show that inhibited dimerization decreases kinase activity and inhibits ROS production and PD-linked apoptosis in primary cortical neurons. While many ATP-competitive LRRK2 inhibitors induce toxicity and mislocalization of the protein in cells, these constrained peptides were found to not affect LRRK2 localization. The ability of these peptides to inhibit pathogenic LRRK2 kinase activity suggests that disruption of dimerization may serve as a new allosteric strategy to downregulate PD-related signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Dimerization
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2 / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Peptides
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2