Mutations in Park8, encoding for the multidomain Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) protein, comprise the predominant genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). G2019S, the most common amino acid substitution activates the kinase two to three-fold. This has motivated the development of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors; however, poor consensus on physiological LRRK2 substrates has hampered clinical development of such therapeutics. We employ a combination of phosphoproteomics, genetics and pharmacology to unambiguously identify a subset of Rab GTPases as key LRRK2 substrates. LRRK2 directly phosphorylates these both in vivo and in vitro on an evolutionary conserved residue in the switch II domain. Pathogenic LRRK2 variants mapping to different functional domains increase phosphorylation of Rabs and this strongly decreases their affinity to regulatory proteins including Rab GDP dissociation inhibitors (GDIs). Our findings uncover a key class of bona-fide LRRK2 substrates and a novel regulatory mechanism of Rabs that connects them to PD.
Animal experimentation: All animal studies were ethically reviewed and carried out in accordance with Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the GSK Policy on the Care, Welfare and Treatment of Animals, regulations set by the University of Dundee and the U.K. Home Office. Animal studies and breeding were approved by the University of Dundee ethical committee and performed under a U.K. Home Office project license.
- Ivan Dikic, Goethe University Medical School, Germany
© 2016, Steger et al.
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Mutations that activate LRRK2 protein kinase cause Parkinson’s disease. LRRK2 phosphorylates a subset of Rab GTPases within their Switch-II motif controlling interaction with effectors. An siRNA screen of all human protein phosphatases revealed that a poorly studied protein phosphatase, PPM1H, counteracts LRRK2 signaling by specifically dephosphorylating Rab proteins. PPM1H knockout increased endogenous Rab phosphorylation and inhibited Rab dephosphorylation in human A549 cells. Overexpression of PPM1H suppressed LRRK2-mediated Rab phosphorylation. PPM1H also efficiently and directly dephosphorylated Rab8A in biochemical studies. A “substrate-trapping” PPM1H mutant (Asp288Ala) binds with high affinity to endogenous, LRRK2-phosphorylated Rab proteins, thereby blocking dephosphorylation seen upon addition of LRRK2 inhibitors. PPM1H is localized to the Golgi and its knockdown suppresses primary cilia formation, similar to pathogenic LRRK2. Thus, PPM1H acts as a key modulator of LRRK2 signaling by controlling dephosphorylation of Rab proteins. PPM1H activity enhancers could offer a new therapeutic approach to prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease.