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J Biol Chem. 2001 Feb 9;276(6):3879-84. Epub 2000 Nov 14.

alpha-synuclein is phosphorylated by members of the Src family of protein-tyrosine kinases.

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Genetic Diseases Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


alpha-Synuclein (alpha-Syn) is implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease, genetically through missense mutations linked to early onset disease and pathologically through its presence in Lewy bodies. alpha-Syn is phosphorylated on serine residues; however, tyrosine phosphorylation of alpha-Syn has not been established (, ). A comparison of the protein sequence between Synuclein family members revealed that all four tyrosine residues of alpha-Syn are conserved in all orthologs and beta-Syn paralogs described to date, suggesting that these residues may be of functional importance (). For this reason, experiments were performed to determine whether alpha-Syn could be phosphorylated on tyrosine residue(s) in human cells. Indeed, alpha-Syn is phosphorylated within 2 min of pervanadate treatment in alpha-Syn-transfected cells. Tyrosine phosphorylation occurs primarily on tyrosine 125 and was inhibited by PP2, a selective inhibitor of Src protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) family members at concentrations consistent with inhibition of Src function (). Finally, we demonstrate that alpha-Syn can be phosphorylated directly both in cotransfection experiments using c-Src and Fyn expression vectors and in in vitro kinase assays with purified kinases. These data suggest that alpha-Syn can be a target for phosphorylation by the Src family of PTKs.

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