Parkinson disease-associated mutations in LRRK2 cause centrosomal defects via Rab8a phosphorylation

Jesús Madero-Pérez, Elena Fdez, Belén Fernández, Antonio J. Lara Ordóñez, Marian Blanca Ramírez, Patricia Gómez-Suaga, Dieter Waschbüsch, Evy Lobbestael, Veerle Baekelandt, Angus C. Nairn, Javier Ruiz-Martínez, Ana Aiastui, Adolfo López de Munain, Pawel Lis, Thomas Comptdaer, Jean-Marc Taymans, Marie-Christine Chartier-Harlin, Alexandria Beilina, Adriano Gonnelli, Mark R. CooksonElisa Greggio, Sabine Hilfiker (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Mutations in LRRK2 are a common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 interacts with and phosphorylates a subset of Rab proteins including Rab8a, a protein which has been implicated in various centrosome-related events. However, the cellular consequences of such phosphorylation remain elusive.

Methods: Human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells stably expressing wildtype or pathogenic LRRK2 were used to test for polarity defects in the context of centrosomal positioning. Centrosomal cohesion deficits were analyzed from transiently transfected HEK293T cells, as well as from two distinct peripheral cell types derived from LRRK2-PD patients. Kinase assays, coimmunoprecipitation and GTP binding/retention assays were used to address Rab8a phosphorylation by LRRK2 and its effects in vitro. Transient transfections and siRNA experiments were performed to probe for the implication of Rab8a and its phosphorylated form in the centrosomal deficits caused by pathogenic LRRK2.

Results: Here, we show that pathogenic LRRK2 causes deficits in centrosomal positioning with effects on neurite outgrowth, cell polarization and directed migration. Pathogenic LRRK2 also causes deficits in centrosome cohesion which can be detected in peripheral cells derived from LRRK2-PD patients as compared to healthy controls, and which are reversed upon LRRK2 kinase inhibition. The centrosomal cohesion and polarity deficits can be mimicked when co-expressing wildtype LRRK2 with wildtype but not phospho-deficient Rab8a. The centrosomal defects induced by pathogenic LRRK2 are associated with a kinase activity-dependent increase in the centrosomal localization of phosphorylated Rab8a, and are prominently reduced upon RNAi of Rab8a.

Conclusions: Our findings reveal a new function of LRRK2 mediated by Rab8a phosphorylation and related to various centrosomal defects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2018


  • Centrosome
  • LRRK2
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rab8a

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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