Studying α-Synuclein Conformation by Intact-Cell Cross-Linking

Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1948:77-91. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9124-2_8.


β-Sheet-rich aggregates of α-synuclein (αS) are the hallmark neuropathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) and related synucleinopathies, whereas the native conformations of αS in healthy cells are under debate. Cross-linking analyses in intact cells detect a large portion of endogenous αS in apparent multimeric states, most notably as putative tetramers (αS60) that run around 60 kDa on SDS-PAGE, but also point at the dynamic nature of cellular αS states. Standardization of αS cross-linking methods will facilitate efforts to study the effects of genetic, pharmacological, and environmental factors on αS conformation. Here, we present detailed protocols for cross-linking cellular αS multimers in cultured cells and brain tissues. These protocols will benefit future studies aimed at characterizing αS conformation in its cellular environment, both at steady state and upon perturbation, be it chronic or acute.

Keywords: Chemical cross-linking; Multimer; Parkinson’s disease; Protein homeostasis; Tetramer; α-Synuclein.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Mutation
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • alpha-Synuclein / chemistry*
  • alpha-Synuclein / genetics
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • alpha-Synuclein