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PLoS One. 2010 Jan 15;5(1):e8730. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008730.

The Parkinson's disease associated LRRK2 exhibits weaker in vitro phosphorylation of 4E-BP compared to autophosphorylation.

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Cell Biology and Gene Expression Unit, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.


Mutations in the gene encoding Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common cause of inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a multi-domain protein kinase containing a central catalytic core and a number of protein-protein interaction domains. An important step forward in the understanding of both the biology and the pathology of LRRK2 would be achieved by identification of its authentic physiological substrates. In the present study we examined phosphorylation of 4E-BP (eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein), a recently proposed substrate for LRRKs. We found that LRRK2 is capable of phosphorylating 4E-BP in vitro. The PD related LRRK2-G2019S mutant was approximately 2 fold more active than wild type protein. However, LRRK2 autophosphorylation was stronger than 4E-BP phosphorylation under conditions of molar excess of 4E-BP to LRRK2. We also tested three other kinases (STK3, MAPK14/p38alpha and DAPK2) and found that MAPK14/p38alpha could efficiently phosphorylate 4E-BP at the same site as LRRK2 in vitro. Finally, we did not see changes in 4E-BP phosphorylation levels using inducible expression of LRRK2 in HEK cell lines. We also found that MAPK14/p38alpha phosphorylates 4E-BP in transient overexpression experiments whereas LRRK2 did not. We suggest that increased 4E-BP phosphorylation reported in some systems may be related to p38-mediated cell stress rather than direct LRRK2 activity. Overall, our results suggest that 4E-BP is a relatively poor direct substrate for LRRK2.

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