?-Synuclein (AS) plays a crucial role in Parkinsons disease pathogenesis. AS is normally secreted from neuronal cells and can thus exert paracrine effects. We have previously demonstrated that naturally secreted AS species, derived from SH-SY5Y cells inducibly overexpressing human wild type AS, can be toxic to recipient neuronal cells. In the current study, we show that application of secreted AS alters membrane fluidity and increases calcium (Ca2+) entry. This influx is reduced on pharmacological inhibition of voltage-operated Ca2+ channels. Although no change in free cytosolic Ca2+ levels is observed, a significantly increased mitochondrial Ca2+ sequestration is found in recipient cells. Application of voltage-operated Ca2+ channel blockers or Ca2+ chelators abolishes AS-mediated toxicity. AS-treated cells exhibit increased calpain activation, and calpain inhibition greatly alleviates the observed toxicity. Collectively, our data suggest that secreted AS exerts toxicity through engagement, at least in part, of the Ca2+ homeostatic machinery. Therefore, manipulating Ca2+ signaling pathways might represent a potential therapeutic strategy for Parkinsons disease.
alpha-Synuclein is central in Parkinsons disease pathogenesis. Although initially alpha-synuclein was considered a purely intracellular protein, recent data suggest that it can be detected in the plasma and CSF of humans and in the culture media of neuronal cells. To address a role of secreted alpha-synuclein in neuronal homeostasis, we have generated wild-type alpha-synuclein and beta-galactosidase inducible SH-SY5Y cells. Soluble oligomeric and monomeric species of alpha-synuclein are readily detected in the conditioned media (CM) of these cells at concentrations similar to those observed in human CSF. We have found that, in this model, alpha-synuclein is secreted by externalized vesicles in a calcium-dependent manner. Electron microscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry proteomic analysis demonstrate that these vesicles have the characteristic hallmarks of exosomes, secreted intraluminar vesicles of multivesicular bodies. Application of CM containing secreted alpha-synuclein causes cell death of recipient neuronal cells, which can be reversed after alpha-synuclein immunodepletion from the CM. High- and low-molecular-weight alpha-synuclein species, isolated from this CM, significantly decrease cell viability. Importantly, treatment of the CM with oligomer-interfering compounds before application rescues the recipient neuronal cells from the observed toxicity. Our results show for the first time that cell-produced alpha-synuclein is secreted via an exosomal, calcium-dependent mechanism and suggest that alpha-synuclein secretion serves to amplify and propagate Parkinsons disease-related pathology.
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