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Histol Histopathol. 2003 Oct;18(4):1257-66. doi: 10.14670/HH-18.1257.

Alpha-synuclein: between synaptic function and dysfunction.

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Department of Psychiatry, Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Alpha-synuclein belongs to a family of vertebrate proteins, encoded by three different genes: alpha, ss, and gamma. The protein has become of interest to the neuroscience community in the last few years after the discovery that a mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene is associated with familial autosomal-dominant early-onset forms of Parkinson Disease. However, it is not yet clear how the protein is involved in the disease. Several studies have suggested that alpha-synuclein plays a role in neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity. This hypothesis might help elucidate how alpha-synuclein malfunctioning contributes to the development of a series of disorders known as synucleinopathies.

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