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Trends Neurosci. 1998 Jun;21(6):249-54.

The synucleins: a family of proteins involved in synaptic function, plasticity, neurodegeneration and disease.

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Beckman Institute and Dept of Cell and Structural Biology, The University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


Synuclein proteins are produced, in vertebrates, by three genes. They share structural resemblance to apolipoproteins, but are abundant in the neuronal cytosol and present in enriched amounts at presynaptic terminals. Synucleins have been specifically implicated in three diseases:Alzheimer's (AD), Parkinson's (PD) and breast cancer. In AD, a peptide derived from alpha-synuclein forms an intrinsic component of plaque amyloid. In PD, an alpha-synuclein allele is genetically linked to several independent familial cases, and the protein appears to accumulate in Lewy bodies. In breast cancer, increased expression of gamma-synuclein correlates with disease progression. In songbirds, alpha-synuclein expression is correlated with plasticity in the developing song control system. Although the normal function of synucleins is unknown, a role in membrane plasticity seems likely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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