Broad neutralization of calcium-permeable amyloid pore channels with a chimeric Alzheimer/Parkinson peptide targeting brain gangliosides

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Feb;1862(2):213-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.11.012. Epub 2015 Dec 2.


Growing evidence supports a role for brain gangliosides in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Recently we deciphered the ganglioside-recognition code controlling specific ganglioside binding to Alzheimer's β-amyloid (Aβ1-42) peptide and Parkinson's disease-associated protein α-synuclein. Cracking this code allowed us to engineer a short chimeric Aβ/α-synuclein peptide that recognizes all brain gangliosides. Here we show that ganglioside-deprived neural cells do no longer sustain the formation of zinc-sensitive amyloid pore channels induced by either Aβ1-42 or α-synuclein, as assessed by single-cell Ca(2+) fluorescence microscopy. Thus, amyloid channel formation, now considered a key step in neurodegeneration, is a ganglioside-dependent process. Nanomolar concentrations of chimeric peptide competitively inhibited amyloid pore formation induced by Aβ1-42 or α-synuclein in cultured neural cells. Moreover, this peptide abrogated the intracellular calcium increases induced by Parkinson's-associated mutant forms of α-synuclein (A30P, E46K and A53T). The chimeric peptide also prevented the deleterious effects of Aβ1-42 on synaptic vesicle trafficking and decreased the Aβ1-42-induced impairment of spontaneous activity in rat hippocampal slices. Taken together, these data show that the chimeric peptide has broad anti-amyloid pore activity, suggesting that a common therapeutic strategy based on the prevention of amyloid-ganglioside interactions is a reachable goal for both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer; Amyloid pore; Calcium; Ganglioside; Ion channel; Parkinson; α-Synuclein; β-amyloid peptide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Gangliosides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Zinc / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*


  • Amyloid
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Gangliosides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • Zinc
  • Calcium