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Biomolecules 2015, 5(2), 282-305; doi:10.3390/biom5020282

Seeking a Mechanism for the Toxicity of Oligomeric α-Synuclein

Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephan N. Witt
Received: 11 February 2015 / Revised: 8 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 25 March 2015
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Abstract

In a number of neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease (PD), α‑synuclein is aberrantly folded, forming abnormal oligomers, and amyloid fibrils within nerve cells. Strong evidence exists for the toxicity of increased production and aggregation of α-synuclein in vivo. The toxicity of α-synuclein is popularly attributed to the formation of “toxic oligomers”: a heterogenous and poorly characterized group of conformers that may share common molecular features. This review presents the available evidence on the properties of α-synuclein oligomers and the potential molecular mechanisms of their cellular disruption. Toxic α-synuclein oligomers may impact cells in a number of ways, including the disruption of membranes, mitochondrial depolarization, cytoskeleton changes, impairment of protein clearance pathways, and enhanced oxidative stress. We also examine the relationship between α-synuclein toxic oligomers and amyloid fibrils, in the light of recent studies that paint a more complex picture of α-synuclein toxicity. Finally, methods of studying and manipulating oligomers within cells are described. View Full-Text
Keywords: α-synuclein; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; aggregation; toxic oligomers; amyloid fibrils α-synuclein; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; aggregation; toxic oligomers; amyloid fibrils
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Roberts, H.L.; Brown, D.R. Seeking a Mechanism for the Toxicity of Oligomeric α-Synuclein. Biomolecules 2015, 5, 282-305.

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