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J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 24;285(52):40732-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.141952. Epub 2010 Oct 19.

Phosphorylated alpha-synuclein at Ser-129 is targeted to the proteasome pathway in a ubiquitin-independent manner.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Hematology, Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetology, Faculty of Medicine, Yamagata University, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan.


α-Synuclein (a-Syn) is a major component of fibrillar aggregates in Lewy bodies (LBs), a characteristic hallmark of Parkinson disease. Almost 90% of a-Syn deposited in LBs is phosphorylated at Ser-129. However, the role of Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn in the biogenesis of LBs remains unclear. Here, we investigated the metabolism of Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn. In SH-SY5Y cells, inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A/1 by okadaic acid, and inhibition of the proteasome pathway by MG132 or lactacystin accumulated Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn. However, these inhibitions did not alter the amounts of total a-Syn within the observation time. Inhibition of the autophagy-lysosome pathway by 3-methyladenine or chloroquine accumulated Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn in parallel to total a-Syn during longer incubations. Experiments using cycloheximide showed that Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn diminished rapidly (t(½) = 54.9 ± 6.4 min), in contrast to the stably expressed total a-Syn. The short half-life of Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn was blocked by MG132 to a greater extent than okadaic acid. In rat primary cortical neurons, either MG132, lactacystin, or okadaic acid accumulated Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn. Additionally, we did not find that phosphorylated a-Syn was ubiquitinated in the presence of proteasome inhibitors. These data show that Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn is targeted to the proteasome pathway in a ubiquitin-independent manner, in addition to undergoing dephosphorylation. The proteasome pathway may play a role in the biogenesis of Ser-129-phosphorylated a-Syn-rich LBs.

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