α-Synuclein mutation impairs processing of endomembrane compartments and promotes exocytosis and seeding of α-synuclein pathology

Cell Rep. 2021 May 11;35(6):109099. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109099.

Abstract

Neuronal loss in Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with impaired proteostasis and accumulation of α-syn microaggregates in dopaminergic neurons. These microaggregates promote seeding of α-synuclein (α-syn) pathology between synaptically linked neurons. However, the mechanism by which seeding is initiated is not clear. Using human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) models of PD that allow comparison of SNCA mutant cells with isogenic controls, we find that SNCA mutant neurons accumulate α-syn deposits that cluster to multiple endomembrane compartments, specifically multivesicular bodies (MVBs) and lysosomes. We demonstrate that A53T and E46K α-syn variants bind and sequester LC3B monomers into detergent-insoluble microaggregates on the surface of late endosomes, increasing α-syn excretion via exosomes and promoting seeding of α-syn from SNCA mutant neurons to wild-type (WT) isogenic controls. Finally, we show that constitutive inactivation of LC3B promotes α-syn accumulation and seeding, while LC3B activation inhibits these events, offering mechanistic insight into the spread of synucleinopathy in PD.

Keywords: LC3; Parkinson's Disease; alpha-synuclein; exosomes; multivesicular bodies; seeding.