[en] Intracellular accumulation of insoluble alpha-synuclein in Lewy bodies is a key neuropathological trait of Parkinson disease (PD). Neither the normal function of alpha-synuclein nor the biochemical mechanisms that cause its deposition are understood, although both are likely influenced by the interaction of alpha-synuclein with vesicular membranes, either for a physiological role in vesicular trafficking or as a pathological seeding mechanism that exacerbates the propensity of alpha-synuclein to self-assemble into fibrils. In addition to the alpha-helical form that is peripherally-attached to vesicles, a substantial portion of alpha-synuclein is freely diffusible in the cytoplasm. The mechanisms controlling alpha-synuclein exchange between these compartments are unknown and the possibility that chronic dysregulation of membrane-bound and soluble alpha-synuclein pools may contribute to Lewy body pathology led us to search for cellular factors that can regulate alpha-synuclein membrane interactions. Here we reveal that dissociation of membrane-bound alpha-synuclein is dependent on brain-specific cytosolic proteins and insensitive to calcium or metabolic energy. Two PD-linked mutations (A30P and A53T) significantly increase the cytosol-dependent alpha-synuclein off-rate but have no effect on cytosol-independent dissociation. These results reveal a novel mechanism by which cytosolic brain proteins modulate alpha-synuclein interactions with intracellular membranes. Importantly, our finding that alpha-synuclein dissociation is up-regulated by both familial PD mutations implicates cytosolic cofactors in disease pathogenesis and as molecular targets to influence alpha-synuclein aggregation.
Centre of research in neurodegenerative disease
Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) ; Parkinson Society of Canada ; Leon Frederick Foundation