LRRK2 is a kinase expressed in striatal spiny projection neurons (SPNs), cells which lose dopaminergic input in Parkinson’s disease (PD). R1441C and G2019S are the most common pathogenic mutations of LRRK2. How these mutations alter the structure and function of individual synapses on direct and indirect pathway SPNs is unknown and may reveal pre-clinical changes in dopamine-recipient neurons that predispose toward disease. Here, R1441C and G2019S knock-in mice enabled thorough evaluation of dendritic spines and synapses on pathway-identified SPNs. Biochemical synaptic preparations and super-resolution imaging revealed increased levels and altered organization of glutamatergic AMPA receptors in LRRK2 mutants. Relatedly, decreased frequency of miniature excitatory post-synaptic currents accompanied changes in dendritic spine nano-architecture, and single-synapse currents, evaluated using two-photon glutamate uncaging. Overall, LRRK2 mutations reshaped synaptic structure and function, an effect exaggerated in R1441C dSPNs. These data open the possibility of new neuroprotective therapies aimed at SPN synapse function, prior to disease onset.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)