Extracellular α-synuclein drives sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 out of lipid rafts, leading to impaired inhibitory G-protein signaling

J Biol Chem. 2018 May 25;293(21):8208-8216. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.001986. Epub 2018 Apr 9.


α-Synuclein (α-Syn)-positive intracytoplasmic inclusions, known as Lewy bodies, are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of Lewy body diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Although growing evidence suggests that cell-to-cell transmission of α-Syn is associated with the progression of PD and that extracellular α-Syn promotes formation of inclusion bodies, its precise mechanism of action in the extracellular space remains unclear. Here, as indicated by both conventional fractionation techniques and FRET-based protein-protein interaction analysis, we demonstrate that extracellular α-Syn causes expulsion of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 (S1P1R) from the lipid raft fractions. S1P1R regulates vesicular trafficking, and its expulsion involved α-Syn binding to membrane-surface gangliosides. Consequently, the S1P1R became refractory to S1P stimulation required for activating inhibitory G-protein (Gi) in the plasma membranes. Moreover, the extracellular α-Syn also induced uncoupling of the S1P1R on internal vesicles, resulting in the reduced amount of CD63 molecule (CD63) in the lumen of multivesicular endosomes, together with a decrease in CD63 in the released exosomes from α-Syn-treated cells. Furthermore, cholesterol-depleting agent-induced S1P1R expulsion from the rafts also resulted in S1P1R uncoupling. Taken together, these results suggest that extracellular α-Syn-induced expulsion of S1P1R from lipid rafts promotes the uncoupling of S1P1R from Gi, thereby blocking subsequent Gi signals, such as inhibition of cargo sorting into exosomal vesicles in multivesicular endosomes. These findings help shed additional light on PD pathogenesis.

Keywords: ganglioside; lipid raft; signal transduction; sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P); α-synuclein (α-synuclein).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Multivesicular Bodies / metabolism*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid / genetics
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • alpha-Synuclein / genetics
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid
  • SNCA protein, human
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go