E46K Parkinson's-linked mutation enhances C-terminal-to-N-terminal contacts in alpha-synuclein

Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with the deposition of fibrillar aggregates of the protein alpha-synuclein (alphaS) in neurons. Intramolecular contacts between the acidic C-terminal tail of alphaS and its N-terminal region have been proposed to regulate alphaS aggregation, and two originally described PD mutations, A30P and A53T, reportedly reduce such contacts. We find that the most recently discovered PD-linked alphaS mutation E46K, which also accelerates the aggregation of the protein, does not interfere with C-terminal-to-N-terminal contacts and instead enhances such contacts. Furthermore, we do not observe a substantial reduction in such contacts in the two previously characterized mutants. Our results suggest that C-terminal-to-N-terminal contacts in alphaS are not strongly protective against aggregation, and that the dominant mechanism by which PD-linked mutations facilitate alphaS aggregation may be altering the physicochemical properties of the protein such as net charge (E46K) and secondary structure propensity (A30P and A53T).


Published in:
Journal of molecular biology, 388, 5, 1022-32
Year:
2009
Publisher:
Elsevier
ISSN:
1089-8638
Keywords:
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 Record created 2009-10-28, last modified 2018-03-17

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