α-Synuclein, a protein in which two mutations have been identified that cause autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease, is thought to serve as a nidus for the development of a Lewy body. We hypothesized that α-synuclein would display different intra- and intermolecular associations in Lewy bodies than it does in its normal intracellular compartments. Using sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) techniques, we found evidence that α-synuclein is more compact and in closer association with other α-synuclein molecules in Lewy bodies than it is in the neuropil. In addition, we found evidence of a close, direct intermolecular interaction between the N terminus of α-synuclein and ubiquitin. These observations provide support for the hypothesis that in Lewy bodies α-synuclein adopts an altered three-dimensional structure and undergoes N-terminal ubiquitination.
- Lewy bodies
- Parkinson's disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience