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      Structural and functional characterization of two alpha-synuclein strains

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          α-synuclein aggregation is implicated in a variety of diseases including Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, pure autonomic failure and multiple system atrophy. The association of protein aggregates made of a single protein with a variety of clinical phenotypes has been explained for prion diseases by the existence of different strains that propagate through the infection pathway. Here we structurally and functionally characterize two polymorphs of α-synuclein. We present evidence that the two forms indeed fulfil the molecular criteria to be identified as two strains of α-synuclein. Specifically, we show that the two strains have different structures, levels of toxicity, and in vitro and in vivo seeding and propagation properties. Such strain differences may account for differences in disease progression in different individuals/cell types and/or types of synucleinopathies.


          α-synuclein is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. Bousset et al. generate two α-synuclein polymorphs and find differences in aggregation, function and toxicity, suggesting that these altered properties may be the cause for differences in disease progression.

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          Most cited references 58

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          Staging of brain pathology related to sporadic Parkinson's disease.

          Sporadic Parkinson's disease involves multiple neuronal systems and results from changes developing in a few susceptible types of nerve cells. Essential for neuropathological diagnosis are alpha-synuclein-immunopositive Lewy neurites and Lewy bodies. The pathological process targets specific induction sites: lesions initially occur in the dorsal motor nucleus of the glossopharyngeal and vagal nerves and anterior olfactory nucleus. Thereafter, less vulnerable nuclear grays and cortical areas gradually become affected. The disease process in the brain stem pursues an ascending course with little interindividual variation. The pathology in the anterior olfactory nucleus makes fewer incursions into related areas than that developing in the brain stem. Cortical involvement ensues, beginning with the anteromedial temporal mesocortex. From there, the neocortex succumbs, commencing with high order sensory association and prefrontal areas. First order sensory association/premotor areas and primary sensory/motor fields then follow suit. This study traces the course of the pathology in incidental and symptomatic Parkinson cases proposing a staging procedure based upon the readily recognizable topographical extent of the lesions.
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            Size-distribution analysis of macromolecules by sedimentation velocity ultracentrifugation and lamm equation modeling.

             Peter Schuck (2000)
            A new method for the size-distribution analysis of polymers by sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation is described. It exploits the ability of Lamm equation modeling to discriminate between the spreading of the sedimentation boundary arising from sample heterogeneity and from diffusion. Finite element solutions of the Lamm equation for a large number of discrete noninteracting species are combined with maximum entropy regularization to represent a continuous size-distribution. As in the program CONTIN, the parameter governing the regularization constraint is adjusted by variance analysis to a predefined confidence level. Estimates of the partial specific volume and the frictional ratio of the macromolecules are used to calculate the diffusion coefficients, resulting in relatively high-resolution sedimentation coefficient distributions c(s) or molar mass distributions c(M). It can be applied to interference optical data that exhibit systematic noise components, and it does not require solution or solvent plateaus to be established. More details on the size-distribution can be obtained than from van Holde-Weischet analysis. The sensitivity to the values of the regularization parameter and to the shape parameters is explored with the help of simulated sedimentation data of discrete and continuous model size distributions, and by applications to experimental data of continuous and discrete protein mixtures.
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              Staging of brain pathology related to sporadic Parkinson’s disease


                Author and article information

                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Pub. Group
                10 October 2013
                : 4
                [1 ]Laboratoire d’Enzymologie et Biochimie Structurales, CNRS , Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
                [2 ]Physical Chemistry, ETH Zurich , Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
                [3 ]Aarhus University, Department of Biomedicine & Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience , Ole Worms alle 1170, DK-8000 Aarhus-C, Denmark
                [4 ]Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Proteines, CNRS/Universite de Lyon 1 , 7 Passage du Vercors, 69367 Lyon, France
                [5 ]Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute , CH-5232 Villigen, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2013, Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit




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