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Oxidative stress-induced phosphorylation, degradation and aggregation of α-synuclein are linked to upregulated CK2 and cathepsin D


Dr S.-H. C. Yen, as above.
E-mail: Yen.Shu-Hui@Mayo.Edu


Intracellular accumulation of α-synuclein (α-Syn) as filamentous aggregates is a pathological feature shared by Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy, referred to as synucleinopathies. To understand the mechanisms underlying α-Syn aggregation, we established a tetracycline-off inducible transfectant (3D5) of neuronal lineage overexpressing human wild-type α-Syn. α-Syn aggregation was initiated by exposure of 3D5 cells to FeCl2. The exposure led to formation of α-Syn inclusions and oligomers of 34, 54, 68 kDa and higher molecular weights. The oligomers displayed immunoreactivity with antibodies to the amino-, but not to the carboxyl(C)-, terminus of α-Syn, indicating that C-terminally truncated α-Syn is a major component of oligomers. FeCl2 exposure also promoted accumulation of S129 phosphorylated monomeric α-Syn (Pα-Syn) and casein kinase 2 (CK2); however, G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 was reduced. Treatment of FeCl2-exposed cells with CK2 inhibitors (DRB or TBB) led to decreased formation of α-Syn inclusions, oligomers and Pα-Syn. FeCl2 exposure also enhanced the activity/level of cathepsin D. Treatment of the FeCl2-exposed cells with pepstatin A or NH4Cl led to reduced formation of oligomers/inclusions as well as of ∼ 10 and 12 kDa truncated α-Syn. Our results indicate that α-Syn phosphorylation caused by FeCl2 is due to CK2 upregulation, and that lysosomal proteases may have a role in producing truncated α-Syn for oligomer assembly.