Linking alpha-synuclein properties with oxidation: a hypothesis on a mechanism underling cellular aggregation
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α-Synuclein is a small, natively unstructured protein with propensity to aggregate. α-Synuclein fibrils are major components of Lewy bodies that are hallmarks of many neurodegenerative diseases. The solution properties and aggregation behavior of α-synuclein has been well characterized, but despite numerous studies that address the role of α-synuclein in cells, a clear physiological function of this protein remains a mystery. Over a hundred review articles of α-synuclein have been written in the last decade, making it difficult to list all of the important studies that have added to our insight of α-synuclein physiology. Instead, we briefly review the status of α-synuclein research and propose a model based on the idea that α-synuclein may not have an intrinsic activity in cells but rather, it modifies the function of a group of protein partners that in turn affect cell processes. We propose that it is the loss of its cellular partners under oxidative conditions that promotes α-synuclein aggregation accelerating neuronal death.
Keywordsα-Synuclein Protein aggregation Oxidative stress Phospholipase C
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