Autosomal-dominant missense mutations in LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2) are a common genetic cause of PD (Parkinson's disease). LRRK2 is a multidomain protein with kinase and GTPase activities. Dominant mutations are found in the domains that have these two enzyme activities, including the common G2019S mutation that increases kinase activity 2–3-fold. However, there is also a genetic variant in some populations, G2385R, that lies in a C-terminal WD40 domain of LRRK2 and acts as a risk factor for PD. In the present study we show that the G2385R mutation causes a partial loss of the kinase function of LRRK2 and deletion of the C-terminus completely abolishes kinase activity. This effect is strong enough to overcome the kinase-activating effects of the G2019S mutation in the kinase domain. Hsp90 (heat-shock protein of 90 kDa) has an increased affinity for the G2385R variant compared with WT (wild-type) LRRK2, and inhibition of the chaperone binding combined with proteasome inhibition leads to association of mutant LRRK2 with high molecular mass native fractions that probably represent proteasome degradation pathways. The loss-of-function of G2385R correlates with several cellular phenotypes that have been proposed to be kinase-dependent. These results suggest that the C-terminus of LRRK2 plays an important role in maintaining enzymatic function of the protein and that G2385R may be associated with PD in a way that is different from kinase-activating mutations. These results may be important in understanding the differing mechanism(s) by which mutations in LRRK2 act and may also have implications for therapeutic strategies for PD.

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