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Neuroreport. 2007 Oct 8;18(15):1543-6.

Localization of alpha-synuclein to mitochondria within midbrain of mice.

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Laboratory for Neurological Research of the Institute of Integrative Medicine, Zhongshan Hospital, People's Republic of China.


The interrelationship between alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) and mitochondria is not clearly understood. Owing to the lack of the signal peptide and its predominant localization in the cytosol, alpha-syn is generally considered to affect mitochondrial function through some secondary effects. Contrary to this assumption, here, we show that a portion of alpha-syn is present in the membrane of mitochondria in normal dopaminergic neurons. The same profile is also found in other alpha-syn-positive neurons. Thus, binding to the membrane of mitochondria is the physiological nature of alpha-syn and might also contribute to the pathological role of this protein in the mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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