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The Parkinson's disease-associated kinase LRRK2 regulates genes required for cell adhesion, polarization, and chemotaxis in activated murine macrophages.

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Udgata, Atul 
Tourlomousis, Panagiotis 
Symmons, Martyn F 
Hopkins, Lee J 


Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) encodes a complex protein that includes kinase and GTPase domains. Genome-wide association studies have identified dominant LRRK2 alleles that predispose their carriers to late-onset idiotypic Parkinson's disease (PD) and also to autoimmune disorders such as Crohn's disease. Considerable evidence indicates that PD initiation and progression involve activation of innate immune functions in microglia, which are brain-resident macrophages. Here we asked whether LRRK2 modifies inflammatory signaling and how this modification might contribute to PD and Crohn's disease. We used RNA-Seq-based high-resolution transcriptomics to compare gene expression in activated primary macrophages derived from WT and Lrrk2 knockout mice. Remarkably, expression of a single gene, Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor 3 (Rapgef3), was strongly up-regulated in the absence of LRRK2 and down-regulated in its presence. We observed similar regulation of Rapgef3 expression in cells treated with a highly specific inhibitor of LRRK2 protein kinase activity. Rapgef3 encodes an exchange protein, activated by cAMP 1 (EPAC-1), a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that activates the small GTPase Rap-1. Rap-1 mediates cell adhesion, polarization, and directional motility, and our results indicate that LRRK2 modulates chemotaxis of microglia and macrophages. Dominant PD-associated LRRK2 alleles may suppress EPAC-1 activity, further restricting motility and preventing efficient migration of microglia to sites of neuronal damage. Functional analysis in vivo in a subclinical infection model also indicated that Lrrk2 subtly modifies the inflammatory response. These results indicate that LRRK2 modulates the expression of genes involved in murine immune cell chemotaxis.



Parkinson's disease, guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), macrophage, protein kinase, transcriptomics, Animals, Cell Adhesion, Cell Polarity, Chemotaxis, Gene Expression Regulation, Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors, Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2, Macrophage Activation, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Microglia, rap1 GTP-Binding Proteins

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J Biol Chem

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Elsevier BV


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Wellcome Trust (100321/Z/12/Z)
Wellcome Trust (108045/Z/15/Z)
Wellcome Trust