S-Nitrosylation of p62 Inhibits Autophagic Flux to Promote α-Synuclein Secretion and Spread in Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia

J Neurosci. 2022 Apr 6;42(14):3011-3024. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1508-21.2022. Epub 2022 Feb 15.


Dysregulation of autophagic pathways leads to accumulation of abnormal proteins and damaged organelles in many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lewy body dementia (LBD). Autophagy-related dysfunction may also trigger secretion and spread of misfolded proteins, such as α-synuclein (α-syn), the major misfolded protein found in PD/LBD. However, the mechanism underlying these phenomena remains largely unknown. Here, we used cell-based models, including human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons, CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and male transgenic PD/LBD mice, plus vetting in human postmortem brains (both male and female). We provide mechanistic insight into this pathologic pathway. We find that aberrant S-nitrosylation of the autophagic adaptor protein p62 causes inhibition of autophagic flux and intracellular buildup of misfolded proteins, with consequent secretion resulting in cell-to-cell spread. Thus, our data show that pathologic protein S-nitrosylation of p62 represents a critical factor not only for autophagic inhibition and demise of individual neurons, but also for α-syn release and spread of disease throughout the nervous system.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, dysfunctional autophagy contributes to accumulation and spread of aggregated α-synuclein. Here, we provide evidence that protein S-nitrosylation of p62 inhibits autophagic flux, contributing to α-synuclein aggregation and spread.

Keywords: Lewy body dementia; Parkinson's disease; autophagy; p62; α-synuclein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Lewy Body Disease* / metabolism
  • Lewy Body Disease* / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease* / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease* / pathology
  • Protein S / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins* / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein* / metabolism


  • P62 protein, human
  • Protein S
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • alpha-Synuclein

Associated data

  • PDB/2ZJD