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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 24;105(25):8637-42. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0712179105. Epub 2008 Jun 12.

The fold of alpha-synuclein fibrils.

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The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The aggregation of proteins into amyloid fibrils is associated with several neurodegenerative diseases. In Parkinson's disease it is believed that the aggregation of alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) from monomers by intermediates into amyloid fibrils is the toxic disease-causative mechanism. Here, we studied the structure of alpha-syn in its amyloid state by using various biophysical approaches. Quenched hydrogen/deuterium exchange NMR spectroscopy identified five beta-strands within the fibril core comprising residues 35-96 and solid-state NMR data from amyloid fibrils comprising the fibril core residues 30-110 confirmed the presence of beta-sheet secondary structure. The data suggest that beta1-strand interacts with beta2, beta2 with beta3, beta3 with beta4, and beta4 with beta5. High-resolution cryoelectron microscopy revealed the protofilament boundaries of approximately 2 x 3.5 nm. Based on the combination of these data and published structural studies, a fold of alpha-syn in the fibrils is proposed and discussed.

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