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J Biol Chem. 2012 Sep 21;287(39):32630-9. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Identification of protein interfaces between α-synuclein, the principal component of Lewy bodies in Parkinson disease, and the molecular chaperones human Hsc70 and the yeast Ssa1p.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Enzymologie et Biochimie Structurales, CNRS, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Fibrillar α-synuclein (α-Syn) is the principal component of Lewy bodies, which are evident in individuals affected by Parkinson disease (PD). This neuropathologic form of α-Syn plays a central role in PD progression as it has been shown to propagate between neurons. Tools that interfere with α-Syn assembly or change the physicochemical properties of the fibrils have potential therapeutic properties as they may be sufficient to interfere with and/or halt cell-to-cell transmission and the systematic spread of α-Syn assemblies within the central nervous system. Vertebrate molecular chaperones from the constitutive/heat-inducible heat shock protein 70 (Hsc/p70) family have been shown to hinder the assembly of soluble α-Syn into fibrils and to bind to the fibrils and very significantly reduce their toxicity. To understand how Hsc70 family members sequester soluble α-Syn, we set up experiments to identify the molecular chaperone-α-Syn surface interfaces. We cross-linked human Hsc70 and its yeast homologue Ssa1p and α-Syn using a chemical cross-linker and mapped the Hsc70- and Ssa1p-α-Syn interface. We show that the client binding domain of Hsc70 and Ssa1p binds two regions within α-Syn similar to a tweezer, with the first spanning residues 10-45 and the second spanning residues 97-102. Our findings define what is necessary and sufficient for engineering Hsc70- and Ssa1p-derived polypeptide with minichaperone properties with a potential as therapeutic agents in Parkinson disease through their ability to affect α-Syn assembly and/or toxicity.

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