Phosphorylation of synucleins by members of the Polo-like kinase family.
ABSTRACT Phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) at Ser-129 is a hallmark of Parkinson disease and related synucleinopathies. However, the identity of the natural kinases and phosphatases responsible for regulating alpha-syn phosphorylation remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that three closely related members of the human Polo-like kinase (PLK) family (PLK1, PLK2, and PLK3) phosphorylate alpha-syn and beta-syn specifically at Ser-129 and Ser-118, respectively. Unlike other kinases reported to partially phosphorylate alpha-syn at Ser-129 in vitro, phosphorylation by PLK2 and PLK3 is quantitative (>95% conversion). Only PLK1 and PLK3 phosphorylate beta-syn at Ser-118, whereas no phosphorylation of gamma-syn was detected by any of the four PLKs (PLK1 to -4). PLK-mediated phosphorylation was greatly reduced in an isolated C-terminal fragment (residues 103-140) of alpha-syn, suggesting substrate recognition via the N-terminal repeats and/or the non-amyloid component domain of alpha-syn. PLKs specifically co-localized with phosphorylated Ser-129 (Ser(P)-129) alpha-syn in various subcellular compartments (cytoplasm, nucleus, and membranes) of mammalian cell lines and primary neurons as well as in alpha-syn transgenic mice, especially cortical brain areas involved in synaptic plasticity. Furthermore, we report that the levels of PLK2 are significantly increased in brains of Alzheimer disease and Lewy body disease patients. Taken together, these results provide biochemical and in vivo evidence of alpha-syn and beta-syn phosphorylation by specific PLKs. Our results suggest a need for further studies to elucidate the potential role of PLK-syn interactions in the normal biology of these proteins as well as their involvement in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease and other synucleinopathies.
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ABSTRACT: Lewy body and Alzheimer-type pathologies often co-exist. Several studies suggest a synergistic relationship between amyloid-β (Aβ) and α-synuclein (α-syn) accumulation. We have explored the relationship between Aβ accumulation and the phosphorylation of α-syn at serine-129 (pSer129 α-syn), in post-mortem human brain tissue and in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells transfected to overexpress human α-syn. We measured levels of Aβ40, Aβ42, α-syn and pSer129 α-syn by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in soluble and insoluble fractions of midfrontal, cingulate and parahippocampal cortex and thalamus, from cases of Parkinson's disease (PD) with (PDD; n = 12) and without dementia (PDND; n = 23), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB; n = 10) and age-matched controls (n = 17). We also examined the relationship of these measurements to cognitive decline, as measured by time-to-dementia and the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score in the PD patients, and to Braak tangle stage. In most brain regions, the concentration of insoluble pSer129 α-syn correlated positively, and soluble pSer129 α-syn negatively, with the levels of soluble and insoluble Aβ. Insoluble pSer129 α-syn also correlated positively with Braak stage. In most regions, the levels of insoluble and soluble Aβ and the proportion of insoluble α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 were significantly higher in the PD and DLB groups than the controls, and higher in the PDD and DLB groups than the PDND brains. In PD, the MMSE score correlated negatively with the level of insoluble pSer129 α-syn. Exposure of SH-SY5Y cells to aggregated Aβ42 significantly increased the proportion of α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 (aggregated Aβ40 exposure had a smaller, non-significant effect). Together, these data show that the concentration of pSer129 α-syn in brain tissue homogenates is directly related to the level of Aβ and Braak tangle stage, and predicts cognitive status in Lewy body diseases.Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 01/2014; 6(5-8):77. · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Polo-like kinase 2 (PLK2) has been recently recognized as the major enzyme responsible for phosphorylation of α-synuclein at S129 in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that this kinase may play a key role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies. Moreover PLK2 seems to be implicated in cell division, oncogenesis, and synaptic regulation of the brain. However little is known about the phosphoproteome generated by PLK2 and, consequently the overall impact of PLK2 on cellular signaling. To fill this gap we exploited an approach based on in vitro kinase assay and quantitative phosphoproteomics. A proteome-derived peptide library obtained by digestion of undifferentiated human neuroblastoma cell line was exhaustively dephosphorylated by lambda phosphatase followed by incubation with or without PLK2 recombinant kinase. Stable isotope labeling based quantitative phosphoproteomics was applied to identify the phosphosites generated by PLK2. A total of 98 unique PLK2-dependent phosphosites from 89 proteins were identified by LC-MS/MS. Analysis of the primary structure of the identified phosphosites allowed the detailed definition of the kinase specificity and the compilation of a list of potential PLK2 targets among those retrieved in PhosphositePlus, a curated database of in cell/vivo phosphorylation sites.PLoS ONE 10/2014; · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An important challenge in the field of Parkinson's disease (PD) is to develop disease modifying therapies capable of stalling or even halting disease progression. Coupled to this challenge is the need to identify disease biomarkers, in order to identify pre-symptomatic hallmarks of disease and monitor disease progression. The answer to these challenges lies in the elucidation of the molecular causes underlying PD, for which important leads are disease genes identified in studies investigating the underlying genetic causes of PD. LRRK2 and α-syn have been both linked to familial forms of PD as well as associated to sporadic PD. Another gene, microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT), has been genetically linked to a dominant form of frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) and genome-wide association studies report a strong association between MAPT and sporadic PD. Interestingly, LRRK2, α-syn, and tau are all phosphorylated proteins, and their phosphorylation patterns are linked to disease. In this review, we provide an overview of the evidence linking LRRK2, α-syn, and tau phosphorylation to PD pathology and focus on studies which have identified phosphatases responsible for dephosphorylation of pathology-related phosphorylations. We also discuss how the LRRK2, α-syn, and tau phosphatases may point to separate or cross-talking pathological pathways in PD. Finally, we will discuss how the study of phosphatases of dominant Parkinsonism proteins opens perspectives for targeting pathological phosphorylation events.Frontiers in Genetics 11/2014; 5:382.