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Pathogenic LRRK2 negatively regulates microRNA-mediated translational repression


Gain-of-function mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) cause familial as well as sporadic Parkinson’s disease characterized by age-dependent degeneration of dopaminergic neurons1,2. The molecular mechanism of LRRK2 action is not known. Here we show that LRRK2 interacts with the microRNA (miRNA) pathway to regulate protein synthesis. Drosophila e2f1 and dp messenger RNAs are translationally repressed by let-7 and miR-184*, respectively. Pathogenic LRRK2 antagonizes these miRNAs, leading to the overproduction of E2F1/DP, previously implicated in cell cycle and survival control3 and shown here to be critical for LRRK2 pathogenesis. Genetic deletion of let-7, antagomir-mediated blockage of let-7 and miR-184* action, transgenic expression of dp target protector, or replacement of endogenous dp with a dp transgene non-responsive to let-7 each had toxic effects similar to those of pathogenic LRRK2. Conversely, increasing the level of let-7 or miR-184* attenuated pathogenic LRRK2 effects. LRRK2 associated with Drosophila Argonaute-1 (dAgo1) or human Argonaute-2 (hAgo2) of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). In aged fly brain, dAgo1 protein level was negatively regulated by LRRK2. Further, pathogenic LRRK2 promoted the association of phospho-4E-BP1 with hAgo2. Our results implicate deregulated synthesis of E2F1/DP caused by the miRNA pathway impairment as a key event in LRRK2 pathogenesis and suggest novel miRNA-based therapeutic strategies.

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Figure 1: Pathogenic LRRK2 suppresses let-7 function and interacts with RISC component Argonaute.
Figure 2: Identification of E2F1 and DP as key translational targets of pathogenic LRRK2.
Figure 3: Control of E2F1 and DP expression by miR-184* and let-7 and their regulation by pathogenic hLRRK2.
Figure 4: Regulated E2F1 and DP translation by let-7 and miR-184* impacts on dopaminergic neuron maintenance and function in vivo.


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We thank R. W. Carthew, B. Dickson, B. Edgar, D. St Johnston, N. Sonenberg, W. Smith, Z. Zhang, H. Siomi, B. Hay, S. Cohen, the Vienna Drosophila RNAi Center and the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center for fly stocks and cell line, and Bestgene Inc. for help with making gDPwt and gDPmut transgenics; N. J. Dyson, R. P. Wharton, C. Zeng, G. Meister and Y. Liu for antibodies; T. Tuschl, P. A. Sharp and Y. Tomari for plasmids; P. Sarnow and R. Cevallos for advice on polysome preparation; S. Guo and A. Fire for reading the manuscript; W. Lee and G. Silverio for technical support; and members of the Lu laboratory for discussions. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01AR054926, R01MH080378 and R21NS056878), the McKnight, Beckman and Sloan Foundations (B.L.), and the Program for Young Researchers from Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology commissioned by MEXT in Japan and an Asahi Glass Foundation Research Grant (Y.I).

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S.G. designed and performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript; Y.I. performed the experiments; N.S. provided key reagents and advice; B.L. designed the experiments, wrote the paper and provided funding.

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Correspondence to Stephan Gehrke or Bingwei Lu.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Gehrke, S., Imai, Y., Sokol, N. et al. Pathogenic LRRK2 negatively regulates microRNA-mediated translational repression. Nature 466, 637–641 (2010).

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