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Since the discovery of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) as a protein that is likely central to the aetiology of Parkinson's disease, a considerable amount of work has gone into uncovering its basic cellular function. This effort has led to the implication of LRRK2 in a bewildering range of cell biological processes and pathways, and probable roles in a number of seemingly unrelated medical conditions. In this review we summarise current knowledge of the basic biochemistry and cellular function of LRRK2. Topics covered include the identification of phosphorylation substrates of LRRK2 kinase activity, in particular Rab proteins, and advances in understanding the activation of LRRK2 kinase activity via dimerisation and association with membranes, especially via interaction with Rab29. We also discuss biochemical studies that shed light on the complex LRRK2 GTPase activity, evidence of roles for LRRK2 in a range of cell signalling pathways that are likely cell type specific, and studies linking LRRK2 to the cell biology of organelles. The latter includes the involvement of LRRK2 in autophagy, endocytosis, and processes at the trans-Golgi network, the endoplasmic reticulum and also key microtubule-based cellular structures. We further propose a mechanism linking LRRK2 dimerisation, GTPase function and membrane recruitment with LRRK2 kinase activation by Rab29. Together these data paint a picture of a research field that in many ways is moving forward with great momentum, but in other ways has not changed fundamentally. Many key advances have been made, but very often they seem to lead back to the same places.
Berwick, D. C., Heaton, G. R., Azeggagh, S., & Harvey, K. (2019, December 21). LRRK2 Biology from structure to dysfunction: Research progresses, but the themes remain the same. Molecular Neurodegeneration. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13024-019-0344-2