Methionine Oxidation Stabilizes Non-toxic Oligomers of α-synuclein Through Strengthening The Auto-inhibitory Intra-molecular Long-range Interactions

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Alpha-synuclein, Methionine Oxidation, Parkinson's Disease, Protein Aggregation, Amyloid Fibril

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Oxidative stress and aggregation of the presynaptic protein α-synuclein (α-Syn) are implied in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and several other neurodegenerative diseases. Various posttranslational modifications, such as oxidation, nitration and truncation, have significant effects on the kinetics of α-Syn fibrillation in vitro. α-Syn is a typical natively unfolded protein, which possesses some residual structure. The existence of long-range intra-molecular interactions between the C-terminal tail (residues 120–140) and the central part of α-Syn (residues 30–100) was recently established (Bertoncini et al. (2005) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102, 1430–1435). Since α-Syn has four methionines, two of which (Met 1 and 5) are at the N-terminus and the other two (Met 116 and 127) are in the hydrophobic cluster at the C-terminus of protein, the perturbation of these residues via their oxidation represents a good model for studying the effect of long-range interaction on α-Syn fibril formation. In this paper we show that Met 1, 116, and 127 are more protected from the oxidation than Met 5 likely due to the residual structure in the natively unfolded α-Syn. In addition to the hydrophobic interactions between the C-terminal hydrophobic cluster and hydrophobic central region of α-Syn, there are some long-range electrostatic interactions in this protein. Both of these interactions likely serve as auto-inhibitors of α-Syn fibrillation. Methionine oxidation affects both electrostatic and hydrophobic long-range interactions in α-Syn. Finally, oxidation of methionines by H2O2 greatly inhibited α-Syn fibrillation in vitro, leading to the formation of relatively stable oligomers, which are not toxic to dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons.

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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease, v. 1802, issue 3, p. 322-330