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Allosteric Inhibition of Parkinson’s-Linked LRRK2 by Constrained Peptides

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journal contribution
posted on 09.09.2021, 00:29 by Leah G. Helton, Ahmed Soliman, Felix von Zweydorf, Michalis Kentros, Jascha T. Manschwetus, Scotty Hall, Bernd Gilsbach, Franz Y. Ho, Panagiotis S. Athanasopoulos, Ranjan K. Singh, Timothy J. LeClair, Wim Versées, Francesco Raimondi, Friedrich W. Herberg, Christian Johannes Gloeckner, Hardy Rideout, Arjan Kortholt, Eileen J. Kennedy
Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a large, multidomain protein with dual kinase and GTPase function that is commonly mutated in both familial and idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease (PD). While dimerization of LRRK2 is commonly detected in PD models, it remains unclear whether inhibition of dimerization can regulate catalytic activity and pathogenesis. Here, we show constrained peptides that are cell-penetrant, bind LRRK2, and inhibit LRRK2 activation by downregulating dimerization. We further show that inhibited dimerization decreases kinase activity and inhibits ROS production and PD-linked apoptosis in primary cortical neurons. While many ATP-competitive LRRK2 inhibitors induce toxicity and mislocalization of the protein in cells, these constrained peptides were found to not affect LRRK2 localization. The ability of these peptides to inhibit pathogenic LRRK2 kinase activity suggests that disruption of dimerization may serve as a new allosteric strategy to downregulate PD-related signaling pathways.