Recent studies revealed that molecular events related with the physiology and pathology of αS might be regulated by specific sequence motifs in the primary sequence of αS. The importance of individual residues in these motifs remains an important open avenue of investigation. In this work, we have addressed the structural details related to the amyloid fibril assembly and lipid-binding features of αS through the design of site-directed mutants at position 39 of the protein and their study by in vitro and in vivo assays. We demonstrated that aromaticity at position 39 of αS primary sequence influences strongly the aggregation properties and the membrane-bound conformations of the protein, molecular features that might have important repercussions for the function and dysfunction of αS. Considering that aggregation and membrane damage is an important driver of cellular toxicity in amyloid diseases, future work is needed to link our findings with studies based on toxicity and neuronal cell death. BRIEF STATEMENT OUTLINING SIGNIFICANCE: Modulation by distinct sequential motifs and specific residues of αS on its physiological and pathological states is an active area of research. Here, we demonstrated that aromaticity at position 39 of αS modulates the membrane-bound conformations of the protein, whereas removal of aromatic functionality at position 39 reduces strongly the amyloid assembly in vitro and in vivo. Our study provides new evidence for the modulation of molecular events related with the physiology and pathology of αS.
Keywords: NMR; amyloid fibril; fluorescence and confocal microscopy; lipid interaction; sequence motifs; α-synuclein.
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