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Biochemistry. 2003 Jan 28;42(3):829-37.

Oxidative dimer formation is the critical rate-limiting step for Parkinson's disease alpha-synuclein fibrillogenesis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Intraneuronal deposition of alpha-synuclein as fibrils and oxidative stress are both implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. We found that the critical rate-limiting step in nucleation of alpha-synuclein fibrils under physiological conditions is the oxidative formation and accumulation of a dimeric, dityrosine cross-linked prenucleus. Dimer formation is accelerated for the pathogenic A30P and A53T mutant alpha-synucleins, because of their greater propensity to self-interact, which is reflected in the smaller values of the osmotic second virial coefficient compared to that of wild-type synuclein. Our finding that oxidation is an essential step in alpha-synuclein aggregation supports a mechanism of Parkinson's disease pathogenesis in which the separately studied pathogenic factors of oxidative stress and alpha-synuclein aggregation converge at the critical step of alpha-synuclein dimer formation.

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