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J Cell Biol. 2004 May 10;165(3):335-46. Epub 2004 May 3.

Degradative organelles containing mislocalized alpha-and beta-synuclein proliferate in presenilin-1 null neurons.

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  • 1Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Presenilin-1 null mutation (PS1 -/-) in mice is associated with morphological alterations and defects in cleavage of transmembrane proteins. Here, we demonstrate that PS1 deficiency also leads to the formation of degradative vacuoles and to the aberrant translocation of presynaptic alpha- and beta-synuclein proteins to these organelles in the perikarya of primary neurons, concomitant with significant increases in the levels of both synucleins. Stimulation of autophagy in control neurons produced a similar mislocalization of synucleins as genetic ablation of PS1. These effects were not the result of the loss of PS1 gamma-secretase activity; however, dysregulation of calcium channels in PS1 -/- cells may be involved. Finally, colocalization of alpha-synuclein and degradative organelles was observed in brains from patients with the Lewy body variant of AD. Thus, aberrant accumulation of alpha- and beta-synuclein in degradative organelles are novel features of PS1 -/- neurons, and similar events may promote the formation of alpha-synuclein inclusions associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

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