Endogenous Levels of Alpha-Synuclein Modulate Seeding and Aggregation in Cultured Cells


Vasili E, Dominguez-Meijide A, Flores-León M, Al-Azzani M, Kanellidi A, Melki R, Stefanis L, Outeiro TF


Molecular Neurobiology


Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Jan 4.


Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein in intraneuronal inclusions known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. Multiple studies strongly implicate the levels of alpha-synuclein as a major risk factor for the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Alpha-synuclein pathology spreads progressively throughout interconnected brain regions but the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the seeding of alpha-synuclein aggregation are still unclear. Here, using stable cell lines expressing alpha-synuclein, we examined the correlation between endogenous alpha-synuclein levels and the seeding propensity by exogenous alpha-synuclein preformed fibrils. We applied biochemical approaches and imaging methods in stable cell lines expressing alpha-synuclein and in primary neurons to determine the impact of alpha-synuclein levels on seeding and aggregation. Our results indicate that the levels of alpha-synuclein define the pattern and severity of aggregation and the extent of p-alpha-synuclein deposition, likely explaining the selective vulnerability of different cell types in synucleinopathies. The elucidation of the cellular processes involved in the pathological aggregation of alpha-synuclein will enable the identification of novel targets and the development of therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies.


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