LRRK2 at the Crossroad Between Autophagy and Microtubule Trafficking: Insights into Parkinson’s Disease

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Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (lrrk2) gene cause inherited Parkinson’s disease (PD), and common variants in lrrk2 are a risk factor for sporadic PD. The neuropathology associated with LRRK2-linked PD is extremely pleomorphic involving inclusions of α-synuclein (SNCA), tau or neither, therefore suggesting that LRRK2 may be central in the pathogenic pathways of PD. This large protein localizes in the cytosol, as well as, in specific membrane domains, including mitochondria and autophagosomes and interacts with a wide range of proteins such as SNCA, tau, α- and β-tubulin. For this reason LRRK2 has been associated with a variety of cellular functions, including autophagy, mitochondrial function/dynamics and microtubule/cytoskeletal dynamics. LRRK2 has been shown to interact with microtubules as well as with mitochondria interfering with their network and dynamics. Moreover, LRRK2 knock-out or mutations affect autophagic efficiency. Here, we review and discuss the literature on how LRRK2 affects mitochondrial function, autophagy, and microtubule dynamics and how this is implicated in the PD etiology.

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