Postdoc, Stanford University
Cholinergic interneurons of the dorsal striatum lose cilia in mice harboring the Parkinson’s disease associated, kinase activating, R1441C LRRK2 mutation (Dhekne et al., 2018). Here, I present that this phenotype is also seen in two mouse strains carrying the most common human G2019S LRRK2 mutation. Heterozygous or homozygous loss of the PPM1H phosphatase that is specific for LRRK2-phosphorylated Rab GTPases (Berndsen et al., 2019) yields the same cilia loss phenotype, strongly supporting a connection between Rab GTPase phosphorylation and cilia loss. In addition, astrocytes throughout the striatum show a ciliation defect in LRRK2 and PPM1H mutant models. Hedgehog signaling requires cilia, and loss of cilia correlates here with a loss in induction of Hedgehog signaling as monitored by in situ hybridization of Gli1 transcripts. These data support a model in which LRRK2 and PPM1H mutant mice struggle to receive and respond to critical Hedgehog signals in the nigral-striatal pathway.