Sequence- and seed-structure-dependent polymorphic fibrils of alpha-synuclein

Goki Tanaka, Tomoyuki Yamanaka, Yoshiaki Furukawa, Naoko Kajimura, Kaoru Mitsuoka, Nobuyuki Nukina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Synucleinopathies comprise a diverse group of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy. These share a common pathological feature, the deposition of alpha-synuclein (a-syn) in neurons or oligodendroglia. A-syn is highly conserved in vertebrates, but the primary sequence of mouse a-syn differs from that of human at seven positions. However, structural differences of their aggregates remain to be fully characterized. In this study, we found that human and mouse a-syn aggregated in vitro formed morphologically distinct amyloid fibrils exhibiting twisted and straight structures, respectively. Furthermore, we identified different protease-resistant core regions, long and short, in human and mouse a-syn aggregates. Interestingly, among the seven unconserved amino acids, only A53T substitution, one of the familial PD mutations, was responsible for structural conversion to the straight-type. Finally, we checked whether the structural differences are transmissible by seeding and found that human a-syn seeded with A53T aggregates formed straight-type fibrils with short protease-resistant cores. These results suggest that a-syn aggregates form sequence-dependent polymorphic fibrils upon spontaneous aggregation but become seed structure-dependent upon seeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-1420
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1


  • Alpha-synuclein
  • Amyloid fibrils
  • Interspecies difference
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Protein aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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