About alpha synuclein
Lewy body in a neuronal cell. Lewy bodies
are abnormal aggregates of α-synuclein
protein observed to develop inside nerve
cells in Parkinson's Disease, Lewy body dementia and other disorders.
α-Synuclein is a central molecule responsible for neurodegenerative effects observed in α-synucleopathies and presents as a major component of Lewy bodies in the affected neurons in Parkinson's disease (Rivers R et al. 2008). It is a 14.5 kDa (140 amino acids long) protein predominantly expressed in brain, specifically in cerebellum, thalamus, neocortex, hippocampus, and striatum regions (Rivers R et al. 2008; Irwin JD et al. 2013).
It has been hypothesized that α-synuclein exists, under physiological conditions, in random coils. Under pathological conditions, the native protein undergoes misfolding (beyond proteasomal repair) to form dimers/trimers/oligomers which in turn aggregate into higher-ordered protofibril structures. These serve as building blocks for pathological inclusions of α-synuclein in the neurons (Irwin JD et al. 2013).