Development of a multiplexed targeted mass spectrometry assay for LRRK2-phosphorylated Rabs and Ser910/Ser935 biomarker sites

Raja S. Nirujogi (Lead / Corresponding author), Francesca Tonelli, Matthew Taylor, Paweł Lis, Alexander Zimprich, Esther Sammler, Dario R. Alessi (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Mutations that increase the protein kinase activity of LRRK2 are one of the most common causes of familial Parkinson's disease. LRRK2 phosphorylates a subset of Rab GTPases within their Switch-II motif, impacting interaction with effectors. We describe and validate a new, multiplexed targeted mass spectrometry assay to quantify endogenous levels of LRRK2-phosphorylated Rab substrates (Rab1, Rab3, Rab8, Rab10, Rab35 and Rab43) as well as total levels of Rabs, LRRK2 and LRRK2-phosphorylated at the Ser910 and Ser935 biomarker sites. Exploiting this assay, we quantify for the first time the relative levels of each of the pRab proteins in different cells (mouse embryonic fibroblasts, human neutrophils) and mouse tissues (brain, kidney, lung and spleen). We define how these components are impacted by Parkinson’s pathogenic mutations (LRRK2[R1441C] and VPS35[D620N]) and LRRK2 inhibitors. We find that the VPS35[D620N], but not LRRK2[R1441C] mutation, enhances Rab1 phosphorylation in a manner blocked by administration of an LRRK2 inhibitor, providing the first evidence that endogenous Rab1 is a physiological substrate for LRRK2. We exploit this assay to demonstrate that in Parkinson’s patients with VPS35[D620N] mutations, phosphorylation of multiple Rab proteins (Rab1, Rab3, Rab8, Rab10 and Rab43) is elevated. We highlight the benefits of this assay over immunoblotting approaches currently deployed to assess LRRK2 Rab signalling pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-326
Number of pages28
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date24 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


  • leucine rich repeat kinase
  • Rab GTPases
  • mass spectrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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