How is alpha-synuclein cleared from the cell?
Stefanis L., Emmanouilidou E., Pantazopoulou M., Kirik D., Vekrellis K., Tofaris GK.
© 2019 International Society for Neurochemistry The levels and conformers of alpha-synuclein are critical in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease and related synucleinopathies. Homeostatic mechanisms in protein degradation and secretion have been identified as regulators of alpha-synuclein at different stages of its intracellular trafficking and transcellular propagation. Here we review pathways involved in the removal of various forms of alpha-synuclein from both the intracellular and extracellular environment. Proteasomes and lysosomes are likely to play complementary roles in the removal of intracellular alpha-synuclein species, in a manner that depends on alpha-synuclein post-translational modifications. Extracellular alpha-synuclein is cleared by extracellular proteolytic enzymes, or taken up by neighboring cells, especially microglia and astrocytes, and degraded within lysosomes. Exosomes, on the other hand, represent a vehicle for egress of excess burden of the intracellular protein, potentially contributing to the transfer of alpha-synuclein between cells. Dysfunction in any one of these clearance mechanisms, or a combination thereof, may be involved in the initiation or progression of Parkinson's disease, whereas targeting these pathways may offer an opportunity for therapeutic intervention. (Figure presented.).