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Publication Detail
Effects of Excess Brain-Derived Human α-Synuclein on Synaptic Vesicle Trafficking
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Román-Vendrell C, Medeiros AT, Sanderson JB, Jiang H, Bartels T, Morgan JR
  • Publisher:
    Frontiers Media SA
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Frontiers in Neuroscience
  • Volume:
  • Status:
    Published online
α-Synuclein is a presynaptic protein that regulates synaptic vesicle trafficking under physiological conditions. However, in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy, α-synuclein accumulates throughout the neuron, including at synapses, leading to altered synaptic function, neurotoxicity, and motor, cognitive, and autonomic dysfunction. Neurons typically contain both monomeric and multimeric forms of α-synuclein, and it is generally accepted that disrupting the balance between them promotes aggregation and neurotoxicity. However, it remains unclear how distinct molecular species of α-synuclein affect synapses where α-synuclein is normally expressed. Using the lamprey reticulospinal synapse model, we previously showed that acute introduction of excess recombinant monomeric or dimeric α-synuclein impaired distinct stages of clathrin-mediated synaptic vesicle endocytosis, leading to a loss of synaptic vesicles. Here, we expand this knowledge by investigating the effects of native, physiological α-synuclein isolated from the brain of a neuropathologically normal human subject, which comprised predominantly helically folded multimeric α-synuclein with a minor component of monomeric α-synuclein. After acute introduction of excess brain-derived human α-synuclein, there was a moderate reduction in the synaptic vesicle cluster and an increase in the number of large, atypical vesicles called “cisternae.” In addition, brain-derived α-synuclein increased synaptic vesicle and cisternae sizes and induced atypical fusion/fission events at the active zone. In contrast to monomeric or dimeric α-synuclein, the brain-derived multimeric α-synuclein did not appear to alter clathrin-mediated synaptic vesicle endocytosis. Taken together, these data suggest that excess brain-derived human α-synuclein impairs intracellular vesicle trafficking and further corroborate the idea that different molecular species of α-synuclein produce distinct trafficking defects at synapses. These findings provide insights into the mechanisms by which excess α-synuclein contributes to synaptic deficits and disease phenotypes.
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