bims-proned Biomed News
on Proteostasis in neurodegeneration
Issue of 2024‒03‒10
five papers selected by
Verena Kohler, Umeå University

  1. APL Bioeng. 2024 Mar;8(1): 016114
      α-Synuclein aggregation is a common trait in synucleinopathies, including Parkinson's disease. Being an unstructured protein, α-synuclein exists in several distinct conformational intermediates, contributing to both its function and pathogenesis. However, the regulation of these monomer conformations by biochemical factors and potential drugs has remained elusive. In this study, we devised an in situ single-molecule manipulation approach to pinpoint kinetically stable conformational intermediates of monomeric α-synuclein and explore the effects of various biochemical factors and drugs. We uncovered a partially folded conformation located in the non-amyloid-β component (NAC) region of monomeric α-synuclein, which is regulated by a preNAC region. This conformational intermediate is sensitive to biochemical perturbations and small-molecule drugs that influencing α-synuclein's aggregation tendency. Our findings reveal that this partially folded intermediate may play a role in α-synuclein aggregation, offering fresh perspectives for potential treatments aimed at the initial stage of higher-order α-synuclein aggregation. The single-molecule approach developed here can be broadly applied to the study of disease-related intrinsically disordered proteins.
  2. Int J Biol Macromol. 2024 Mar 04. pii: S0141-8130(24)01435-1. [Epub ahead of print]264(Pt 1): 130632
      Plasmalogens comprise a large fraction of the total phospholipids in plasma membranes. These molecules modulate membrane fluidity, produce inflammatory mediators mitigating effects of metabolic stresses. A growing body of evidence suggests that an onset of Parkinson's disease (PD), a severe neurodegenerative pathology, can be triggered by metabolic changes in plasma membranes. However, the role of plasmalogens in the aggregation of α-synuclein (α-syn), an expected molecular cause of PD, remains unclear. In this study we examine the effect of choline plasmalogens (CPs), unique phospholipids that have a vinyl ether linkage at the sn-1 position of glycerol, on the aggregation rate of α-syn. We found that the length and saturation of fatty acids (FAs) in CPs change rates of protein aggregation. We also found drastic changes in the morphology of α-syn fibrils formed in the presence of different CPs compared to α-syn fibrils grown in the lipid-free environment. At the same time, we did not observe substantial changes in the secondary structure and toxicity of α-syn fibrils formed in the presence of different CPs. These results indicate that the length and saturation of FAs in CPs present in the plasma membrane can alter α-syn stability and modulate its aggregation properties, which, in turn can accelerate or delay the onset of PD.
    Keywords:  Amyloid fibrils; LDH; Plasmalogens; ThT; α-Synuclein
  3. Brain. 2024 Mar 04. pii: awae070. [Epub ahead of print]
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder primarily known for typical motor features that arise due to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. However, the precise molecular etiology of the disease is still unclear. Several cellular pathways have been linked to PD, including the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP), α-synuclein (α-syn) aggregation, and mitochondrial function. Interestingly, the mechanistic link between GBA1, the gene that encodes for lysosomal β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), and PD lies in the interplay between GCase functions in the lysosome and mitochondria. GCase mutations alter mitochondria-lysosome contact sites. In the lysosome, reduced GCase activity leads to glycosphingolipid buildup, disrupting lysosomal function and autophagy, thereby triggering α-syn accumulation. Additionally, α-syn aggregates reduce GCase activity, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of lysosomal dysfunction and α-syn accumulation. GCase can also be imported into the mitochondria, where it promotes the integrity and function of mitochondrial complex I. Thus, GCase mutations that impair its normal function increase oxidative stress in mitochondria, the compartment where dopamine is oxidized. In turn, the accumulation of oxidized dopamine-adducts further impairs GCase activity, creating a second cycle of GCase dysfunction. The oxidative state triggered by GCase dysfunction can also induce mitochondrial DNA damage which, in turn, can cause dopaminergic cell death. In this review, we highlight the pivotal role of GCase in PD pathogenesis and discuss promising examples of GCase-based therapeutics such as gene and enzyme replacement therapies, small molecule chaperones, and substrate reduction therapies, among others, as potential therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  Gaucher’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; lysosome; mitochondria; neurodegeneration; therapeutics
  4. Int J Biol Macromol. 2024 Mar 06. pii: S0141-8130(24)01498-3. [Epub ahead of print] 130695
      The fibrillogenesis of amyloid β-protein (Aβ) gradually accumulates to form neurotoxic Aβ aggregates in the human brain, which is the direct cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) related symptoms. There are currently no effective therapies for AD. Brazilin, a natural polyphenol, inhibits Aβ fibrillogenesis, disrupts the mature fibrils and alleviates the corresponding cytotoxicity, but it also has the high toxic. Therefore, brazilin-7-2-butenoate (B-7-2-B), a brazilin derivative, was designed and synthesized. B-7-2-B exhibited lower toxicity and stronger inhibitory effect on Aβ aggregation than brazilin. B-7-2-B could prevent the formation of Aβ fibrils and oligomers, and depolymerize pre-formed aggregates in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, B-7-2-B prominently alleviated the cytotoxicity and the oxidative stress induced by Aβ aggregates in PC12 cells. The protective impacts of B-7-2-B were further demonstrated by using the Caenorhabditis elegans model, including decreasing the extent of Aβ aggregation, improving motility and sensation disorders. Eventually, B-7-2-B was proven to be no apparent damage to worms. In summarize, it can be concluded that B-7-2-B has the potential as a drug for treating AD.
    Keywords:  Aggregation; Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid β-protein
  5. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2024 ;144(3): 299-310
      This study focuses on the modulation of protein aggregation and immunogenicity. As a starting point for investigating long-range interactions within a non-native protein, the effects of perturbing denatured protein states on their aggregation, including the formation of amyloid fibrils, were evaluated. The effects of adducts, sugar modifications, and stabilization on protein aggregation were then examined. We also investigated how protein immunogenicity was affected by enhancing protein conformational stability and other factors.
    Keywords:  aggregation; denatured state; immunogenicity; light chain λ6; lysozyme; protein stability