With the advent of the genetic era in Parkinson's disease (PD) research in 1997, α-synuclein was identified as an important player in a complex neurodegenerative disease that affects >10 million people worldwide. PD has been estimated to have an economic impact of $51.9 billion in the US alone. Since the initial association with PD, hundreds of researchers have contributed to elucidating the functions of α-synuclein in normal and pathological states, and these remain critical areas for continued research. With this position paper the authors strive to achieve two goals: first, to succinctly summarize the critical features that define α-synuclein's varied roles, as they are known today; and second, to identify the most pressing knowledge gaps and delineate a multipronged strategy for future research with the goal of enabling therapies to stop or slow disease progression in PD.
© 2021. The Author(s).