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Dynamic behaviors of α-synuclein and tau in the cellular context: New mechanistic insights and therapeutic opportunities in neurodegeneration

Bill, Anke and Yeboah, Fred and Kim, Tae-Eu and Dettmer, Ulf (2019) Dynamic behaviors of α-synuclein and tau in the cellular context: New mechanistic insights and therapeutic opportunities in neurodegeneration. Neurobiology of Disease, 132. ISSN 1095953X

Abstract

α-Synuclein (αS) and tau have a lot in common. Dyshomeostasis and aggregation of both proteins are central in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases: Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, multi-system atrophy and other ‘synucleinopathies’ in the case of αS; Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy and other ‘tauopathies’ in the case of tau. The aggregated states of αS and tau are found to be (hyper)phosphorylated, but the relevance of the phosphorylation in health or disease is not well understood. Both tau and αS are typically characterized as ‘intrinsically disordered’ proteins, while both engage in transient interactions with cellular components, thereby undergoing structural changes and context-specific folding. αS transiently binds to (synaptic) vesicles forming a membrane-induced amphipathic helix; tau transiently interacts with microtubules forming an ‘extended structure’. The regulation and exact nature of the interactions are not fully understood. Here we review recent and previous insights into the dynamic, transient nature of αS and tau with regard to the mode of interaction with their targets, the dwell-time while bound, and the cis and trans factors underlying the frequent switching between bound and unbound states. These aspects are intimately linked to hypotheses on how subtle changes in the transient behaviors may trigger the earliest steps in the pathogenesis of the respective brain diseases. Based on a deeper understanding of transient αS and tau conformations in the cellular context, new therapeutic strategies may emerge, and it may become clearer why existing approaches have failed or how they could be optimized.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2019 00:45
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2019 00:45
URI: https://oak.novartis.com/id/eprint/38157

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