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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Oct;41(10):2015-24. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2009.05.008. Epub 2009 May 19.

Alpha-synuclein overexpression and aggregation exacerbates impairment of mitochondrial functions by augmenting oxidative stress in human neuroblastoma cells.

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School of Studies in Biotechnology & Zoology, Vikram University, Ujjain, MP, India.


Overexpression of alpha-synuclein and oxidative stress has been implicated in the neuronal cell death in Parkinson's disease. Alpha-synuclein associates with mitochondria and excessive accumulation of alpha-synuclein causes impairment of mitochondrial functions. However, the mechanism of mitochondrial impairment caused by alpha-synuclein is not fully understood. We recently reported that alpha-synuclein associates with mitochondria and that overexpression of alpha-synuclein causes nitration of mitochondrial proteins and release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria [Parihar M.S., Parihar A., Fujita M., Hashimoto M., Ghafourifar P. Mitochondrial association of alpha-synuclein causes oxidative stress. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008a;65:1272-1284]. The present study shows that overexpression of alpha-synuclein A53T or A30P mutants or wild-type in human neuroblastoma cells augmented aggregation of alpha-synuclein. Immunoblotting and immuno-gold electron transmission microscopy show localization of alpha-synuclein aggregates within the mitochondria of overexpressing cells. Overexpressing cells show increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, increased protein tyrosine nitration, decreased mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and hampered cellular respiration. These findings suggest an important role for mitochondria in cellular responses to alpha-synuclein.

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