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J Neurochem. 2009 Nov;111(3):703-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06358.x. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Homo- and heterodimerization of ROCO kinases: LRRK2 kinase inhibition by the LRRK2 ROCO fragment.

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Department of Neurodegeneration, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University Clinics Tübingen, Germany.


Mutations in the gene encoding leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common cause of autosomal-dominant familial and late-onset sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a large multi-domain protein featuring a GTP-binding C-terminal of Ras of complex proteins (ROC) (ROCO) domain combination unique for the ROCO protein family, directly followed by a kinase domain. Dimerization is a well-established phenomenon among protein kinases. Here, we confirm LRRK2 self-interaction, and provide evidence for general homo- and heterodimerization potential among the ROCO kinase family (LRRK2, LRRK1, and death-associated protein kinase 1). The ROCO domain was critically, though not exclusively involved in dimerization, as a LRRK2 deletion mutant lacking the ROCO domain retained dimeric properties. GTP binding did not appear to influence ROCO(LRRK2) self-interaction. Interestingly, ROCO(LRRK2) fragments exerted an inhibitory effect on both wild-type and the elevated G2019S LRRK2 autophosphorylation activity. Insertion of PD mutations into ROCO(LRRK2) reduced self-interaction and led to a reduction of LRRK2 kinase inhibition. Collectively, these results suggest a functional link between ROCO interactions and kinase activity of wild-type and mutant LRRK2. Importantly, our finding of ROCO(LRRK2) fragment-mediated LRRK2 kinase inhibition offers a novel lead for drug design and thus might have important implications for new therapeutic avenues in PD.

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