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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 19;105(7):2693-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708452105. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

A Drosophila model for LRRK2-linked parkinsonism.

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Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neurobiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase (LRRK2) gene cause late-onset autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD) with pleiomorphic pathology. Previously, we and others found that expression of mutant LRRK2 causes neuronal degeneration in cell culture. Here we used the GAL4/UAS system to generate transgenic Drosophila expressing either wild-type human LRRK2 or LRRK2-G2019S, the most common mutation associated with PD. Expression of either wild-type human LRRK2 or LRRK2-G2019S in the photoreceptor cells caused retinal degeneration. Expression of LRRK2 or LRRK2-G2019S in neurons produced adult-onset selective loss of dopaminergic neurons, locomotor dysfunction, and early mortality. Expression of mutant G2019S-LRRK2 caused a more severe parkinsonism-like phenotype than expression of equivalent levels of wild-type LRRK2. Treatment with l-DOPA improved mutant LRRK2-induced locomotor impairment but did not prevent the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons. To our knowledge, this is the first in vivo"gain-of-function" model which recapitulates several key features of LRRK2-linked human parkinsonism. These flies may provide a useful model for studying LRRK2-linked pathogenesis and for future therapeutic screens for PD intervention.

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