The gene encoding leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) comprises a major risk factor for Parkinson's disease. Recently, it has emerged that LRRK2 plays important roles in the immune system. LRRK2 is induced by interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in monocytes, but the signaling pathway is not known. Here, we show that IFN-γ-mediated induction of LRRK2 was suppressed by pharmacological inhibition and RNA interference of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5). This was confirmed by LRRK2 immunostaining, which also revealed that the morphological responses to IFN-γ were suppressed by ERK5 inhibitor treatment. Both human acute monocytic leukemia THP-1 cells and human peripheral blood monocytes stimulated the ERK5-LRRK2 pathway after differentiation into macrophages. Thus, LRRK2 is induced via a novel, ERK5-dependent IFN-γ signal transduction pathway, pointing to new functions of ERK5 and LRRK2 in human macrophages.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a major risk factor for the development of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the role of LRRK2 in the affected neurons remains enigmatic. Recently, LRRK2 has been reported to be strongly expressed in the immune system. Here, we demonstrate that LRRK2 is induced by Interferon gamma via extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) in macrophages, thus providing new insights in LRRK2 and ERK5 biology.