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Neurogenetics. 2010 Feb;11(1):107-20. doi: 10.1007/s10048-009-0212-2.

Transgenic overexpression of the alpha-synuclein interacting protein synphilin-1 leads to behavioral and neuropathological alterations in mice.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 7, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Synphilin-1 has been identified as an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and LRRK2, proteins which are mutated in familial forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Subsequently, synphilin-1 has also been shown to be an intrinsic component of Lewy bodies in sporadic PD. In order to elucidate the role of synphilin-1 in the pathogenesis of PD, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type and mutant (R621C) synphilin-1 driven by a mouse prion protein promoter. Transgenic expression of both wild-type and the R621C variant synphilin-1 resulted in increased dopamine levels of the nigrostriatal system in 3-month-old mice. Furthermore, we found pathological ubiquitin-positive inclusions in cerebellar sections and dark-cell degeneration of Purkinje cells. Both transgenic mouse lines showed significant reduction of motor skill learning and motor performance. These findings suggest a pathological role of overexpressed synphilin-1 in vivo and will help to further elucidate the mechanisms of protein aggregation and neuronal cell death.

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