Yeast Cells Provide Insight into Alpha-Synuclein Biology and Pathobiology

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1772-1775
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090439

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Alpha-synuclein is implicated in several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy, yet its functions remain obscure. When expressed in yeast, alpha-synuclein associated with the plasma membrane in a highly selective manner, before forming cytoplasmic inclusions through a concentration-dependent, nucleated process. Alpha-synuclein inhibited phospholipase D, induced lipid droplet accumulation, and affected vesicle trafficking. This readily manipulable system provides an opportunity to dissect the molecular pathways underlying normal alpha-synuclein biology and the pathogenic consequences of its misfolding.

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