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Monomeric alpha-synuclein exerts a physiological role on brain ATP synthase

Ludtmann, Marthe H. R., Angelova, Plamena R., Ninkina, Natalia N. ORCID:, Gandhi, Sonia, Buchman, Vladimir L. ORCID: and Abramov, Andrey Y. 2016. Monomeric alpha-synuclein exerts a physiological role on brain ATP synthase. Journal of Neuroscience 36 (41) , pp. 10510-10521. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1659-16.2016

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Misfolded α-synuclein is a key factor in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, knowledge about a physiological role for the native, unfolded α-synuclein is limited. Using brains of mice lacking α-, β-, and γ-synuclein, we report that extracellular monomeric α-synuclein enters neurons and localizes to mitochondria, interacts with ATP synthase subunit α, and modulates ATP synthase function. Using a combination of biochemical, live-cell imaging and mitochondrial respiration analysis, we found that brain mitochondria of α-, β-, and γ-synuclein knock-out mice are uncoupled, as characterized by increased mitochondrial respiration and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, synuclein deficiency results in reduced ATP synthase efficiency and lower ATP levels. Exogenous application of low unfolded α-synuclein concentrations is able to increase the ATP synthase activity that rescues the mitochondrial phenotypes observed in synuclein deficiency. Overall, the data suggest that α-synuclein is a previously unrecognized physiological regulator of mitochondrial bioenergetics through its ability to interact with ATP synthase and increase its efficiency. This may be of particular importance in times of stress or PD mutations leading to energy depletion and neuronal cell toxicity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This article is freely available online through the J Neurosci Author Open Choice option.
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 1529-2401
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 November 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2016
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 07:18

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