Abstract

Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are a frequent genetic cause of late-onset Parkinson's disease (PD) and a target for therapeutic approaches. LRRK2 protein can influence vesicle trafficking events in the cytosol, with action both in endosomal and lysosomal pathways in different types of cells. A subset of late endosomes harbor intraluminal vesicles that can be secreted into the extracellular milieu. These extracellular vesicles, called exosomes, package LRRK2 protein for transport outside the cell into easily accessed biofluids. Both the cytoplasmic complement of LRRK2 as well as the exosome-associated fraction of protein appears regulated in part by interactions with 14-3-3 proteins. LRRK2 inside exosomes have disease-linked post-translational modifications and are relatively stable compared with unprotected proteins in the extracellular space or disrupted cytosolic compartments. Herein, we review the biology of exosome-associated LRRK2 and the potential for utility in diagnosis, prognosis, and theragnosis in PD and other LRRK2-linked diseases.

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