Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Mendelian forms have revealed multiple genes, with a notable emphasis on membrane trafficking; RAB GTPases play an important role in PD as a subset are both regulators and substrates of LRRK2 protein kinase. To explore the role of RAB GTPases in PD, we undertook a comprehensive examination of their genetic variability in familial PD. METHODS: Affected probands from 130 multi-incident PD families underwent whole-exome sequencing and genotyping, Potential pathogenic variants in 61 RAB GTPases were genotyped in relatives to assess disease segregation. These variants were also genotyped in a larger case-control series, totaling 3,078 individuals (2,734 with PD). The single most significant finding was subsequently validated within genetic data (6,043 with PD). Clinical and pathologic findings were summarized for gene-identified patients, and haplotypes were constructed. In parallel, wild-type and mutant RAB GTPase structural variation, protein interactions, and resultant enzyme activities were assessed. FINDINGS: We found RAB32 c.213C>G (Ser71Arg) to co-segregate with autosomal dominant parkinsonism in three multi-incident families. RAB32 Ser71Arg was also significantly associated with PD in case-control samples: genotyping and database searches identified thirteen more patients with the same variant that was absent in unaffected controls. Notably, RAB32 Ser71Arg heterozygotes share a common haplotype. At autopsy, one patient had sparse neurofibrillary tangle pathology in the midbrain and thalamus, without Lewy body pathology. In transfected cells the RAB32 Arg71 was twice as potent as Ser71 wild type to activate LRRK2 kinase. INTERPRETATION: Our study provides unequivocal evidence to implicate RAB32 Ser71Arg in PD. Functional analysis demonstrates LRRK2 kinase activation. We provide a mechanistic explanation to expand and unify the etiopathogenesis of monogenic PD. FUNDING: National Institutes of Health, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program, Aligning Science Across Parkinson's, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and the UK Medical Research Council.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date



LRRK2, PINK1, Parkinson’s disease, RAB32