α-Synuclein Oligomers: A Study in Diversity

Femke van Diggelen, Armand Tepper, Mihaela Petri, Daniel Otzen

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A critical step in Parkinson's disease (PD) is the formation of toxic α-synuclein oligomers (αSOs). In vitro αSOs are formed by self-assembly of α-synuclein at high concentrations, or by the addition of, for example, dopamine, lipids, ethanol, or metal ions. These αSOs are structurally distinct from the unfolded monomer and aggregated β-sheet fibrils. Nevertheless, the literature reports a wide variety of αSO shapes, sizes, and proposed toxic mechanisms. This heterogeneous character makes it difficult to form a unifying picture. Here, we present an overview of the different αSO species made in vitro, providing a tool for better comparison of different protocols and the ensuing αSOs, and emphasizing the striking versatility in the appearance and properties of these critical species. We also summarize what is known of the biological activities of different αSOs. Despite a large and increasing level of insight into αSO effects in vitro, we still lack strong insight into the structures and sizes of αSO species formed in vivo. Once this is established, it may be possible to generate more uniform protocols that could stimulate further efforts to develop viable PD biomarker assays and therapies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIsrael Journal of Chemistry
Volume57
Issue7-8
Pages (from-to)699-723
Number of pages25
ISSN0021-2148
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Parkinson's disease
  • oligomers
  • protein folding
  • protein structures
  • α-synuclein

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