Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are a leading genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). One important function of the LRRK2 protein is to modify other proteins. Previously, we found that LRRK2 modifies proteins called Rabs. Based on this finding, we are now developing new methods and tools to better understand what other proteins LRRK2 might modify or interact with.
Evidence suggests that Rab35, one of the Rabs, may play an important role among the proteins that LRRK2 interacts with.
In any protein, LRRK2 modifies only a particular fragment. We will design protein fragments resembling those LRRK2 modifies and generate the Rab35 protein. These will be used to create antibodies -- proteins used in research as tags to study other proteins -- which we will then carefully test to confirm their usefulness in research.
Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
These tools will be made available to all researchers studying Parkinson's to further PD research. The tools may also find use in diagnostic tests.
Next Steps for Development:
In the future, we will develop other tools for studying LRRK2 and proteins it modifies.