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Future Neurol. 2008;3(6):669-681.

Update on the functional biology of Lrrk2.

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1
Morris K Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence, Neurogenetics Laboratories, Birdsall Bldg, Mayo Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA, Tel.: +1 904 953 0158, , melrose.heather@mayo.edu.

Abstract

The etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) was long thought to be due to environmental factors. Following the discovery of autosomal-dominant mutations in the α-synuclein gene, and later recessive mutations in the DJ-1, Parkin and PINK-1 genes, the field of PD genetics exploded. In 2004, it was discovered that mutations in the PARK8 locus - leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2, Lrrk2) - are the most important genetic cause of autosomal-dominant PD. Lrrk2 substitutions also account for sporadic PD in certain ethnic populations and have been shown to increase the risk of PD in Asian populations. Drug therapies targeting Lrrk2 activity may therefore be beneficial to both familial and sporadic PD patients, hence understanding the role of Lrrk2 in health and disease is critical. This review aims to highlight the research effort concentrated on elucidating the functional biological role of Lrrk2, and to provide some future therapeutic perspectives.

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