Article

Systematic Mutagenesis of α-Synuclein Reveals Distinct Sequence Requirements for Physiological and Pathological Activities.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5453, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5453.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 10/2012; 32(43):15227-42. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3545-12.2012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT α-Synuclein is an abundant presynaptic protein that binds to phospholipids and synaptic vesicles. Physiologically, α-synuclein functions as a SNARE-protein chaperone that promotes SNARE-complex assembly for neurotransmitter release. Pathologically, α-synuclein mutations and α-synuclein overexpression cause Parkinson's disease, and aggregates of α-synuclein are found as Lewy bodies in multiple neurodegenerative disorders ("synucleinopathies"). The relation of the physiological functions to the pathological effects of α-synuclein remains unclear. As an initial avenue of addressing this question, we here systematically examined the effect of α-synuclein mutations on its physiological and pathological activities. We generated 26 α-synuclein mutants spanning the entire molecule, and analyzed them compared with wild-type α-synuclein in seven assays that range from biochemical studies with purified α-synuclein, to analyses of α-synuclein expression in cultured neurons, to examinations of the effects of virally expressed α-synuclein introduced into the mouse substantia nigra by stereotactic injections. We found that both the N-terminal and C-terminal sequences of α-synuclein were required for its physiological function as SNARE-complex chaperone, but that these sequences were not essential for its neuropathological effects. In contrast, point mutations in the central region of α-synuclein, referred to as nonamyloid β component (residues 61-95), as well as point mutations linked to Parkinson's disease (A30P, E46K, and A53T) increased the neurotoxicity of α-synuclein but did not affect its physiological function in SNARE-complex assembly. Thus, our data show that the physiological function of α-synuclein, although protective of neurodegeneration in some contexts, is fundamentally distinct from its neuropathological effects, thereby dissociating the two activities of α-synuclein.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
161 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, as well as in other brain areas. The currently available dopamine replacement therapy provides merely symptomatic benefit and is ineffective because habituation and side effects arise relatively quickly. Studying the genetic forms of PD in animal models provides novel insight that allows targeting of specific aspects of this heterogenic disease more specifically. Among others, two important cellular deficits are associated with PD; these deficits relate to (1) synaptic transmission and vesicle trafficking, and (2) mitochondrial function, relating respectively to the dominant and recessive mutations in PD-causing genes. With increased knowledge of PD, the possibility of identifying an efficient, long-lasting treatment is becoming more conceivable, but this can only be done with an increased knowledge of the specific affected cellular mechanisms. This review discusses how discoveries in animal models of PD have clarified the therapeutic potential of pathways disrupted in PD, with a specific focus on synaptic transmission, vesicle trafficking, and mitochondrial function.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2014; DOI:10.1111/nyas.12577 · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alpha-synuclein is a small neuronal protein that is closely associated with the etiology of Parkinson's disease. Mutations in and alterations in expression levels of alpha-synuclein cause autosomal dominant early onset heredity forms of Parkinson's disease, and sporadic Parkinson's disease is defined in part by the presence of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites that are composed primarily of alpha-synuclein deposited in an aggregated amyloid fibril state. The normal function of alpha-synuclein is poorly understood, and the precise mechanisms by which it leads to toxicity and cell death are also unclear. Although alpha-synuclein is a highly soluble, cytoplasmic protein, it binds to a variety of cellular membranes of different properties and compositions. These interactions are considered critical for at least some normal functions of alpha-synuclein, and may well play critical roles in both the aggregation of the protein and its mechanisms of toxicity. Here we review the known features of alpha-synuclein membrane interactions in the context of both the putative functions of the protein and of its pathological roles in disease.
    12/2014; 23(4):292-313. DOI:10.5607/en.2014.23.4.292
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Monomeric α-synuclein (αSN) species are abundant in nerve terminals where they are hypothesized to play a physiological role related to synaptic vesicle turn-over. In Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy body (DLB), αSN accumulates as aggregated soluble oligomers in terminals, axons and the somatodendritic compartment and insoluble filaments in Lewy inclusions and Lewy neurites. The autosomal dominant heritability associated to mutations in the αSN gene suggest a gain of function associated to aggregated αSN. We have conducted a proteomic screen to identify the αSN interactome in brain synaptosomes. Porcine brain synaptosomes were fractionated, solubilized in non-denaturing detergent and subjected to co-immunoprecipitation using purified recombinant human αSN monomers or oligomers as bait. The isolated αSN binding proteins were identified with LC-LTQ-orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry and quantified by peak area using Windows client application, Skyline Targeted Proteomic Environment. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001462. To quantify the preferential binding an average fold increase was calculated by comparing binding to monomer and oligomer. We identified 10 proteins preferentially binding monomer, and 76 binding preferentially to oligomer and a group of 92 proteins not displaying any preferred conformation of αSN. The proteomic data were validated by immunoprecipitation in both human and porcine brain extracts using antibodies against monomer αSN interactors: Abl interactor 1, and myelin proteolipid protein, and oligomer interactors: glutamate decarboxylase 2, synapsin 1, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and VAMP-2. We demonstrate the existence of αSN conformation selective ligands and present lists of proteins, whose identity and functions will be useful for modeling normal and pathological αSN dependent processes.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0116473. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116473 · 3.53 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
46 Downloads
Available from
May 28, 2014