Mutations in Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most frequent cause of dominantly inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 mutations, among which p.G2019S is the most frequent, are inherited with reduced penetrance. Interestingly, the disease risk associated with LRRK2 G2019S can vary dramatically depending on the ethnic background of the carrier. While this would suggest a genetic component in the definition of LRRK2-PD penetrance, only few variants have been shown to modify the age at onset of patients harbouring LRRK2 mutations, and the exact cellular pathways controlling the transition from a healthy to a diseased state currently remain elusive. In light of this knowledge gap, recent studies also explored environmental and lifestyle factors as potential modifiers of LRRK2-PD. In this article, we (i) describe the clinical characteristics of LRRK2 mutation carriers, (ii) review known genes linked to LRRK2-PD onset and (iii) summarize the cellular functions of LRRK2 with particular emphasis on potential penetrance-related molecular mechanisms. This section covers LRRK2's involvement in Rab GTPase and immune signalling as well as in the regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis and dynamics. Additionally, we explored the literature with regard to (iv) lifestyle and (v) environmental factors that may influence the penetrance of LRRK2 mutations, with a view towards further exposomics studies. Finally, based on this comprehensive overview, we propose potential future in vivo, in vitro and in silico studies that could provide a better understanding of the processes triggering PD in individuals with LRRK2 mutations.
Joanne Trinh, Emma L. Schymanski, Semra Smajic, Meike Kasten, Esther Sammler, Anne Grünewald