The roles of kinases in familial Parkinson's disease

Mark R. Cookson, William Dauer, Ted Dawson, Edward A. Fon, Ming Guo, Jie Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The purpose of this mini-symposium is to discuss some of the inherited forms of Parkinson's disease (PD) in view of recent data suggesting that some of the proteins affect cellular signaling pathways. As an illustration, we shall focus on two different kinases associated with recessive and dominant forms of PD. Mutations in the mitochondrial kinase PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog)-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) are loss-of-function mutations in a normally neuroprotective protein. Loss-of-function mutations in model organisms have variable effects, from dramatic muscle and spermatid defects in Drosophila to more subtle neurophysiological abnormalities in mice. Several lines of evidence relate these to the action of a second gene for familial PD, parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase shown recently to have effects on Akt signaling. Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), a cytosolic kinase, are dominant and have the opposite effect of causing neuronal damage. The mechanism(s) involved are uncertain at this time because LRRK2 is a large and complex molecule with several domains. Increased kinase activity accounts for the action of at least some of the mutations, suggesting that hyperactive or misregulated kinase activity may lead to the damaging effects of LRRK2 in neurons. For both PINK1 and LRRK2, the following key question that needs to be answered: what are the physiological substrates that mediate effects in cells? Here, we will discuss some of the recent thinking about physiological and pathological roles for signaling in PD and how these may have therapeutic implications for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11865-11868
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 31 2007


  • Dopaminergic
  • Genetics
  • Human
  • Knock-out mice
  • Mitochondria
  • Neuron death
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein kinases
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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