- Cell-to-cell transmission of intracellular protein aggregates is considered a central event in many neurodegenerative diseases, but little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. A new study employs fluorescence quenching to examine the fate of α-synuclein, a key molecule in the pathology of Parkinson's disease and related disorders, in primary cultured neurons, finding that endocytosis and lysosomal processing of exogenous fibrils may explain the transmission of α-synuclein pathology.
- Aggregates of abnormal proteins are widely observed in neuronal and glial cells of patients with various neurodegenerative diseases, and it has been proposed that prion-like behavior of these proteins can account for not only the onset but also the progression of these diseases. However, it is not yet clear which abnormal protein structures function most efficiently as seeds for prion-like propagation. In this study, we aimed to identify the most pathogenic species of α-synuclein (α-syn), the main component of the Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites that are observed in α-synucleinopathies.
- TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) has been identified as the major component of ubiquitin-positive neuronal and glial inclusions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aggregation of TDP-43 to amyloid-like fibrils and spreading of the aggregates are suggested to account for the pathogenesis and progression of these diseases. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of TDP-43 aggregation, we attempted to identify the amino acid sequence required for the aggregation.
- Intracellular aggregates of phosphorylated TDP-43 are a major component of ubiquitin-positive inclusions in the brains of patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration and ALS and are considered a pathological hallmark. Here, to gain insight into the mechanism of intracellular TDP-43 accumulation, we examined the relationship between phosphorylation and aggregation of TDP-43. We found that expression of a hyperactive form of casein kinase 1 δ (CK1δ1-317, a C-terminally truncated form) promotes mislocalization and cytoplasmic accumulation of phosphorylated TDP-43 (ubiquitin- and p62-positive) in cultured neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells.