Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), a large and complex protein that possesses two enzymatic properties, kinase and GTPase, is one of the major genetic factors in Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we characterize the kinetic and catalytic mechanisms of truncated wild-type (t-wt) LRRK2 and its most common mutant, G2019S (t-G2019S), with a structural interpretation of the kinase domain. First, the substitution of threonine with serine in the LRRKtide peptide results in a much less efficient substrate as demonstrated by a 26-fold decrease in k(cat) and a 6-fold decrease in binding affinity. The significant decrease in k(cat) is attributed to a slow chemical transfer step as evidenced by the inverse solvent kinetic isotope effect in the proton inventory and pL (pH or pD)-dependent studies. The shape of the proton inventory and pL profile clearly signals the involvement of a general base (pK(a) = 7.5) in the catalysis with a low fractionation factor in the ground state. We report for the first time that the increased kinase activity of the G2019S mutant is substrate-dependent. Homology modeling of the kinase domain (open and closed forms) and structural analysis of the docked peptide substrates suggest that electrostatic interactions play an important role in substrate recognition, which is affected by G2019S and may directly influence the kinetic properties of the enzyme. Finally, the GTPase activity of the t-G2019S mutant was characterized, and the mutation modestly decreases GTPase activity without significantly affecting GTP binding affinity.