Abstract

The identification of genetic forms of Parkinson's disease (PD) has tremendously expanded our understanding of the players and mechanisms involved. Mutations in the genes encoding for alpha-synuclein (aSyn), LRRK2, and tau have been associated with familial and sporadic forms of the disease. aSyn is the major component of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, which are pathognomonic protein inclusions in PD. Hyperphosphorylated tau protein accumulates in neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients but is also seen in the brains of PD patients. LRRK2 is a complex multi-domain protein with kinase and GTPase enzymatic activity. Since aSyn and tau are phosphoproteins, we review the possible interplay between the three proteins. Understanding the interplay between LRRK2, aSyn and tau is extremely important, as this may enable the identification of novel targets and pathways for therapeutic intervention.

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