Gamma synuclein: subcellular localization in neuronal and non-neuronal cells and effect on signal transduction

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2001 Aug;49(4):218-28. doi: 10.1002/cm.1035.


Synucleins are small, highly conserved proteins in vertebrates, especially abundant in neurons and typically enriched in presynaptic terminals. alpha-Synuclein protein and a fragment of it, called NAC, have been found in association with pathological lesions of neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, mutations in a alpha-synuclein gene have been reported in families susceptible to an inherited form of Parkinson's diseases. In addition, alpha-synuclein has been implicated in the pathophysiology of other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and multiple system atrophy. Far less is known about other members of the synuclein family, beta- and gamma-synucleins. gamma-synuclein is up-regulated in several types of cancer and may affect the integrity of the neurofilament network, while its bovine ortholog, synoretin, activates the Elk-1 signal transduction pathway. In this paper, we present data about the localization and properties of human and bovine gamma-synuclein in several neuronal and non-neuronal cell cultures derived from ocular tissues. We show that gamma-synuclein is present in the perinuclear area and is localized to centrosomes in several types of human interphase cells and in bovine retinal pigment epithelium. In mitotic cells, gamma-synuclein staining is localized to the poles of the spindle. Further, overexpression of synoretin in retinoblastoma cells up-regulates MAPK and Elk-1. These results support the view that gamma-synuclein is a centrosome protein that may be involved in signal transduction pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Centrosome / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, EphA8
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retinoblastoma / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Synucleins
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • gamma-Synuclein


  • Eye Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SNCA protein, human
  • Synucleins
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • gamma-Synuclein
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, EphA8
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases