Versatile Structures of α-Synuclein

1Cancer Biology, University of Cincinnati, USA 2Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, USA 3Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biology and Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China α-Synuclein (α-syn) is an intrinsically disordered protein abundantly distributed in presynaptic terminals. Aggregation of α-syn into Lewy bodies is a molecular hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). α-Syn features an extreme conformational diversity, which adapts to different conditions and fulfills versatile functions. However, the molecular mechanism of α-syn transformation and the relation between different structural species and their functional and pathogenic roles in neuronal activities and PD remain unknown. In this mini-review, we summarize the recent discoveries of α-syn structures in the membrane-bound state, in cytosol, and in the amyloid state under physiological and pathological conditions. From the current knowledge on…

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