LRRK2 (Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2) is a protein thought to be involved in regulating signaling pathways in cells. Mutations in the gene for LRRK2 are associated with some familial forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Like many proteins in cells, LRRK2 appears to undergo chemical modification by the addition of one or more phosphate groups, a process call phosphorylation. This modification may alter the function of LRRK2 Therefore, understanding how phosphorylation affects LRRK2 function would enable researchers to have a better comprehension of how to target LRRK2 for therapeutic development in PD.
Antibodies, molecules normally used by our immune systems to recognize foreign substances, are also used by research scientists to study proteins. Antibodies can be made that recognize any protein of interest and then used to determine, for example, where that protein resides in the body or how its levels change in disease.
Antibodies can also be generated to recognize the phosphorylated form of LRRK2 and thus be used to investigate how LRRK2 behaves differently when it either is or is not phosphorylated at a particular site.
Currently, no antibodies to phosphorylated forms of LRRK2 are widely available. Therefore, MJFF has worked with key leaders in the field to identify the top list of phosphorylated forms of LRRK2 and will generate antibodies to each of these forms.
MJFF will work with the companies PhosphoSolutions (www.phosphosolutions.com), Precision Antibody (www.precisionantibody.com), Biomer Technology (www.biomertechnology.com ) and Epitomics, Inc. (www.epitomics.com) to generate antibodies to phosphorylated forms of the LRRK2 protein. Upon generation, MJFF will make these antibodies available to the PD research community.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
A major obstacle in scientific progress is access to essential research tools. In developing this antibody, and making it widely available to investigators in academia and industry, MJFF strives to accelerate LRRK2 research and therapeutic development.
This project will result in the selection of antibodies to phosphorylated forms of the LRRK2 protein for use by the PD research community.