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Dopaminergic neuronal loss, reduced neurite complexity and autophagic abnormalities in transgenic mice expressing G2019S mutant LRRK2.

Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause late-onset, autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease (PD) and also contribute to idiopathic PD. LRRK2 mutations represent the most common cause of PD with clinical and neurochemical features that are largely indistinguishable from idiopathic disease. Currently, transgenic mice expressing wild-type or disease-causing mutants of LRRK2 have failed to produce overt neurodegeneration, although abnormalities in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission have been observed. Here, we describe the development and characterization of transgenic mice expressing human LRRK2 bearing the familial PD mutations, R1441C and G2019S. Our study demonstrates that expression of G2019S mutant LRRK2 induces the degeneration of nigrostriatal pathway dopaminergic neurons in an age-dependent manner. In addition, we observe autophagic and mitochondrial abnormalities in the brains of aged G2019S LRRK2 mice and markedly reduced neurite complexity of cultured dopaminergic neurons. These new LRRK2 transgenic mice will provide important tools for understanding the mechanism(s) through which familial mutations precipitate neuronal degeneration and PD.

Pubmed ID: 21494637


  • Ramonet D
  • Daher JP
  • Lin BM
  • Stafa K
  • Kim J
  • Banerjee R
  • Westerlund M
  • Pletnikova O
  • Glauser L
  • Yang L
  • Liu Y
  • Swing DA
  • Beal MF
  • Troncoso JC
  • McCaffery JM
  • Jenkins NA
  • Copeland NG
  • Galter D
  • Thomas B
  • Lee MK
  • Dawson TM
  • Dawson VL
  • Moore DJ


PloS one

Publication Data

April 15, 2011

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS03877
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS060885
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS062165
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P50 NS038377

Mesh Terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dopamine
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Activity
  • Mutant Proteins
  • Neurites
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Protein Transport
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases