Mechanisms of Parkinson's Disease Linked to Pathological α-Synuclein: New Targets for Drug Discovery
ABSTRACT Classic Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by fibrillar alpha-synuclein inclusions known as Lewy bodies in the substantia nigra, which are associated with nigrostriatal degeneration. However, alpha-synuclein pathologies accumulate throughout the CNS in areas that also undergo progressive neurodegeneration, leading to dementia and other behavioral impairments in addition to parkinsonism. Although mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene only cause Lewy body PD in rare families, and although there are multiple other, albeit rare, genetic causes of familial parkinsonism, sporadic Lewy body PD is the most common movement disorder, and insights into mechanisms underlying alpha-synuclein-mediated neurodegeneration provide novel targets for the discovery of disease-modifying therapies for PD and related neurodegenerative alpha-synucleinopathies.
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ABSTRACT: Converging lines of evidence suggest that cell-to-cell transmission and the self-propagation of pathogenic amyloidogenic proteins play a central role in the initiation and the progression of several neurodegenerative disorders. This "prion-like" hypothesis has been recently reported for α-synuclein, a presynaptic protein implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and related disorders. This review summarizes recent findings on α-synuclein prion-like propagation, focusing on its transmission, seeding and degradation and discusses some key questions that remain to be explored. Understanding how α-synuclein exits cells and propagates from one brain region to another will lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of PD, aiming at slowing or stopping the disease progression.12/2014; 23(4):324-36. DOI:10.5607/en.2014.23.4.324
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ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder. Functional interactions between some PD genes, like PINK1 and parkin, have been identified, but whether other ones interact remains elusive. Here we report an unexpected genetic interaction between two PD genes, VPS35 and EIF4G1. We provide evidence that EIF4G1 upregulation causes defects associated with protein misfolding. Expression of a sortilin protein rescues these defects, downstream of VPS35, suggesting a potential role for sortilins in PD. We also show interactions between VPS35, EIF4G1, and α-synuclein, a protein with a key role in PD. We extend our findings from yeast to an animal model and show that these interactions are conserved in neurons and in transgenic mice. Our studies reveal unexpected genetic and functional interactions between two seemingly unrelated PD genes and functionally connect them to α-synuclein pathobiology in yeast, worms, and mouse. Finally, we provide a resource of candidate PD genes for future interrogation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Neuron 12/2014; 85(3). DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.11.027 · 15.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Two α-synuclein ligands, 3-methoxy-7-nitro-10H-phenothiazine (2a, Ki = 32.1 ± 1.3 nM) and 3-(2-fluoroethoxy)-7-nitro-10H-phenothiazine (2b, Ki = 49.0 ± 4.9 nM), were radiolabeled as potential PET imaging agents by respectively introducing (11)C and (18)F. The syntheses of [(11)C]2a and [(18)F]2b were accomplished in a good yield with high specific activity. Ex vivo biodistribution studies in rats revealed that both [(11)C]2a and [(18)F]2b crossed the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and demonstrated good brain uptake 5 min post-injection. MicroPET imaging of [(11)C]2a in a non-human primate (NHP) confirmed that the tracer was able to cross the BBB with rapid washout kinetics from brain regions of a healthy macaque. The initial studies suggested that further structural optimization of [(11)C]2a and [(18)F]2b is necessary in order to identify a highly specific positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand for in vivo imaging of α-synuclein aggregation in the central nervous system (CNS).Applied Sciences 03/2014; 4(1):66-78. DOI:10.3390/app4010066