Dysregulated mRNA translation in the G2019S LRRK2 and LRRK2 knock-out mouse brains

Jungwoo Wren Kim, Xiling Yin, Ian Martin, Yulan Xiong, Stephen M. Eacker, Nicholas T. Ingolia, Ted M. Dawson, Valina L. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The G2019S mutation in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) causes familial Parkinson’s disease (PD) and is also found in a subset of idiopathic cases. Prior studies in Drosophila and human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived dopamine neurons uncovered a pronounced effect of G2019S LRRK2 on mRNA translation. It was previously reported that G2019S LRRK2 promotes translation of mRNAs with complex 59 untranslated region (UTR) secondary structure, resulting in increased expression of calcium channels and dysregulated calcium homeostasis in human dopamine neurons. Here, we show that dysregulated translation occurs in the brains of mammalian LRRK2 models in vivo. Through ribosome profiling studies of global translation, we ob-serve that mRNAs with complex 59UTR structure are also preferentially translated in the G2019S LRRK2-ex-pressing mouse brain. Reporter assays suggest that this 59UTR preference is independent of translation initiation factors. Conversely, translation of mRNAs with complex 59UTR secondary structure is downregulated in LRRK2 knock-out (KO) mouse brain, indicating a robust link between LRRK2 kinase activity and translation of mRNA with complex 59UTR structure. Further, substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) dopamine neurons in the G2019S LRRK2-expressing brain exhibit increased calcium influx, which is consistent with the previous re-port from human dopamine neurons. These results collectively suggest that LRRK2 plays a mechanistic role in translational regulation, and the G2019S mutation in LRRK2 causes translational defects leading to calcium dysregulation in the mammalian brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0310-21.2021
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • LRRK2
  • RPS15
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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