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Polo-like kinase 2 (PLK2) phosphorylates α-synuclein at Serine 129 in central nervous system
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by KJ Inglis, D Chereau, EF Brigham, S-S Chiou, S Schobel, NL Frigon, M Yu, RJ Caccavello, S Nelson, R Motter
Several neurological diseases, including Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, are characterized by the accumulation of α-synuclein phosphorylated at Ser-129 (p-Ser-129). The kinase or kinases responsible for this phosphorylation have been the subject of intense investigation. Here we submit evidence that polo-likekinase 2 (PLK2, also known as serum-inducible kinase or SNK) is a principle contributor to α-synuclein phosphorylation at Ser-129 in neurons. PLK2 directly phosphorylates α-synuclein at Ser-129 in an in vitro biochemical assay. Inhibitors of PLK kinases inhibited α-synuclein phosphorylation both in primary cortical cell cultures and in mouse brain in vivo. Finally, specific knockdown of PLK2 expression by transduction with short hairpin RNA constructs or by knock-out of the plk2 gene reduced p-Ser-129 levels. These results indicate that PLK2 plays a critical role in α-synuclein phosphorylation in central nervous system.