Vitamin B12 modulates Parkinson’s disease LRRK2 kinase activity through allosteric regulation and confers neuroprotection

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  • Adam Schaffner
  • Xianting Li
  • Yacob Gomez-Llorente
  • Emmanouela Leandrou
  • Anna Memou
  • Nicolina Clemente
  • Chen Yao
  • Farinaz Afsari
  • Lianteng Zhi
  • Nina Pan
  • Keita Morohashi
  • Xiaoluan Hua
  • Ming-Ming Zhou
  • Chunyu Wang
  • Hui Zhang
  • Shu G. Chen
  • Christopher John Hazell Elliott
  • Hardy Rideout
  • Iban Ubarretxena-Belandia
  • Zhenyu Yue


Publication details

JournalCell Research
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Feb 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2019
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2019
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)313-329
Early online date11/03/19
Original languageEnglish


Missense mutations in Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) cause the majority of familial and some sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The hyperactivity of LRRK2 kinase induced by the pathogenic mutations underlies neurotoxicity, promoting the development of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors as therapeutics. Many potent and specific small molecule LRRK2 inhibitors have been reported with promise. However, nearly all inhibitors are ATP competitive – some with unwanted side effects and unclear clinical outcome - alternative types of LRRK2 inhibitors are lacking. Herein we find 5’-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl), a physiological form of the essential micronutrient vitamin B12 as a mixed-type allosteric inhibitor of LRRK2 kinase activity. Multiple assays show that AdoCbl directly binds LRRK2, leading to the alterations of protein conformation and ATP binding in LRRK2. STD-NMR analysis of a LRRK2 homologous kinase reveals the contact sites in AdoCbl that interface with the kinase domain. Furthermore, we provide evidence that AdoCbl modulates LRRK2 activity through disruption of LRRK2 dimerization. Treatment with AdoCbl inhibits LRRK2 kinase activity in cultured cells and brain tissue, and importantly prevents neurotoxicity in primary rodent cultures as well as in transgenic C. elegans and D. melanogaster expressing LRRK2 disease variants. Finally, AdoCbl alleviates deficits in dopamine release sustainability caused by LRRK2 disease variants in mouse models. Our study uncovers vitamin B12 as a novel class of LRRK2 kinase modulator with a distinct mechanism, which can be harnessed to develop new LRRK2-based PD therapeutics in the future

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