LRRK2 expression in normal and pathologic human brain and in human cell lines.
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene (LRRK2) have been recently identified in families with autosomal-dominant late-onset Parkinson disease. We report that by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, the mRNA of LRRK2 is expressed in soluble extracts of human brain, liver, and heart and in cultured human astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendroglia as well as in human neuroblastoma cell lines. We find by Western blotting using a polyclonal antibody of the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 protein (Lrrk2) specific for C-terminal residues 2,511-2,527 that an apparent full-length protein and several of its fractions are expressed in soluble extracts of normal human brain. By immunocytochemistry, the antibody recognizes neurons, and more weakly astrocytes and microglia, in normal brain tissue. It intensely labels Lewy bodies in Parkinson disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. It also labels a subset of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease and the Parkinsonism dementia complex of Guam (PDCG). It labels thorn-shaped astrocytes and oligodendroglial coiled bodies in PDCG; oligodendroglial inclusions in multiple system atrophy; Pick bodies in Pick disease; nuclear and cytoplasmic inclusions in Huntington disease; and intraneuronal and glial inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In summary, LRRK2 is constitutively expressed in neurons and also in glial cells of human brain. It strongly associates with pathological inclusions in several neurodegenerative disorders.