?-Synuclein (?-syn) is the major component of Lewy bodies, a pathological hallmark of Parkinsons disease and other synucleinopathies. The characterization of ?-syn post-translational modifications (PTMs), thought to interfere with its aggregation propensity and cellular signaling, has been limited by the availability of extraction methods of endogenous protein from cells and tissues, and by the availability of antibodies toward ?-syn PTMs. Here, by taking advantage of ?-syn thermostability, we applied a method to achieve high enrichment of soluble ?-syn both from cultured cells and brain tissues followed by proteomics analysis. Using this approach, we obtained 98% ?-syn sequence coverage in a variety of model systems, including a transgenic mouse model of PD, and validated the strategy by identifying previously described PTMs such as phosphorylation and N-terminal acetylation. Our findings demonstrate that this procedure overcomes existing technical limitations and can be used to facilitate the systematic study of ?-syn PTMs, thereby enabling the clarification of their role under physiological and pathological conditions. Ultimately, this approach may enable the development of novel biomarkers and strategies for therapeutic intervention in synucleinopathies.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuronal plasticity, learning, and memory. Levels of BDNF and its main receptor TrkB (TrkB.TK) have been reported to be decreased while the levels of the truncated TrkB (TrkB.T1) are increased in Alzheimers disease. We show here that incubation with amyloid-? increased TrkB.T1 receptor levels and decreased TrkB.TK levels in primary neurons. In vivo, APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice (APdE9) showed an age-dependent relative increase in cortical but not hippocampal TrkB.T1 receptor levels compared with TrkB.TK. To investigate the role of TrkB isoforms in Alzheimers disease, we crossed AP mice with mice overexpressing the truncated TrkB.T1 receptor (T1) or the full-length TrkB.TK isoform. Overexpression of TrkB.T1 in APdE9 mice exacerbated their spatial memory impairment while the overexpression of TrkB.TK alleviated it. These data suggest that amyloid-? changes the ratio between TrkB isoforms in favor of the dominant-negative TrkB.T1 isoform both in vitro and in vivo and supports the role of BDNF signaling through TrkB in the pathophysiology and cognitive deficits of Alzheimers disease.
The formation of proteinaceous aggregates is a pathognomonic hallmark of several neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases. To date, the final diagnostic for these diseases can only be achieved by immunostaining of post-mortem brain tissues with the commonly used congo red and Thioflavin T/S amyloid-dyes. The interest in developing amyloid-avid radioprobes to be used for protein aggregates imaging by positron emission tomography has grown substantialy, due to the promise in assisting diagnosis of these disorders. To this purpose, the present work describes the synthesis and characterization of four novel fluorinated styryl benzazole derivatives 1-4 by means of the Wittig reaction, as well as their in vitro evaluation as amyloid-probing agents. All compounds were obtained as mixtures of geometric E and Z isomers, with the preferable formation of the E isomer. Photoisomerization reactions allowed for the maximization of the minor Z isomers. The authentic 1-4E/Z isomers were isolated after purification by column chromatography under dark conditions. Profiting from the fluorescence properties of the different geometric isomers of 1-4, their binding affinities towards amyloid fibrils of insulin, ?-synuclein and ?-amyloid peptide were also measured. These compounds share similarities with Thioflavin T, interacting specifically with fibrillary species with a red-shift in the excitation wavelengths along with an increase in the fluorescence emission intensity. Apparent binding constants were determined and ranged between 1.22 and 23.96 ?M(-1). The present data suggest that the novel fluorinated styryl benzazole derivatives may prove useful for the design of (18)F-labeled amyloid radioprobes.
Neurodegenerative diseases are associated with the misfolding and deposition of specific proteins, either intra- or extracellularly in the nervous system. Although familial mutations play an important role in protein misfolding and aggregation, the majority of cases of neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic, suggesting that other factors must contribute to the onset and progression of these disorders. Post-translational modifications are known to influence protein structure and function. Some of these modifications might affect proteins in detrimental ways and lead to their misfolding and accumulation. Reducing sugars play important roles in modifying proteins, forming advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in a non-enzymatic process named glycation. Several proteins linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyloid beta, tau, prions and transthyretin, were found to be glycated in patients, and this is thought to be associated with increased protein stability through the formation of crosslinks that stabilize protein aggregates. Moreover, glycation may be responsible, via the receptor for AGE (RAGE), for an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation through the formation of reactive oxygen species and the induction of NF-kappaB. Therefore, it is essential to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying protein glycation to understand their role in neurodegeneration. Here, we reviewed the role of protein glycation in the major neurodegenerative disorders and highlight the potential value of protein glycation as a biomarker or target for therapeutic intervention.
Parkinsons disease (PD) is the most common representative of a group of disorders known as synucleinopathies, in which misfolding and aggregation of ?-synuclein (a-syn) in various brain regions is the major pathological hallmark. Indeed, the motor symptoms in PD are caused by a heterogeneous degeneration of brain neurons not only in substantia nigra pars compacta but also in other extrastriatal areas of the brain. In addition to the well known motor dysfunction in PD patients, cognitive deficits and memory impairment are also an important part of the disorder, probably due to disruption of synaptic transmission and plasticity in extrastriatal areas, including the hippocampus. Here, we investigated the impact of a-syn aggregation on AMPA and NMDA receptor-mediated rat hippocampal (CA3-CA1) synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP), the neurophysiological basis for learning and memory. Our data show that prolonged exposure to a-syn oligomers, but not monomers or fibrils, increases basal synaptic transmission through NMDA receptor activation, triggering enhanced contribution of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors. Slices treated with a-syn oligomers were unable to respond with further potentiation to theta-burst stimulation, leading to impaired LTP. Prior delivery of a low-frequency train reinstated the ability to express LTP, implying that exposure to a-syn oligomers drives the increase of glutamatergic synaptic transmission, preventing further potentiation by physiological stimuli. Our novel findings provide mechanistic insight on how a-syn oligomers may trigger neuronal dysfunction and toxicity in PD and other synucleinopathies.
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